The “Juice mission” (Jupiter Icy moons Explorer) is an exciting and ambitious project by the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore Jupiter and its three icy moons – Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto – in depth. With a launch date set for April 13, 2023, the mission aims to explore these moons and gain insights into their composition, geology, and potential habitability. The “Juice mission” will help us unlock new insights about our solar system and the potential for life beyond Earth by utilizing advanced technologies and scientific instrumentation. 

First, let’s find out,

What is the Juice Mission?

The “Juice mission” is an ambitious project by the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore Jupiter and three of its icy moons – Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto – in depth. This mission aims to gather critical information about the composition and potential habitability of these celestial bodies. It is considered a groundbreaking effort because it will utilize advanced technologies and scientific instrumentation to unlock new insights about our solar system. Ultimately, the “Juice mission” will help us better understand the potential for life beyond Earth.

An Ariane 5 rocket from the European Spaceport located in Kourou, French Guiana, will be utilized to launch this mission. Once launched, JUICE will embark on a 7 to 8-year journey to reach Jupiter. The spacecraft will utilize Earth and Venus gravity assists along the way. Upon arrival in 2031, JUICE will go into orbit around Jupiter. It will optimize its orbit using flybys of Ganymede and Callisto, as well as flybys of Europa.

JUICE spacecraft
Artist’s concept of JUICE spacecraft at Jupiter. Image Credit: ESA

The spacecraft will first be entered into a highly elliptical orbit around Ganymede. This orbit will gradually evolve into a 5000 km circular orbit. After that, JUICE will lower its orbit to 500 km and then to 200 km. It will conduct mapping and other investigations at each altitude. The nominal mission is set to last for approximately 3 years. However, there is a possibility of an extension to the mission of 200 or more days. Regardless, the mission will end with an impact on the surface of Ganymede.

The launch of this mission has raised hundreds of questions. People are wondering why the European Space Agency needs to send another spacecraft if they have already launched such spacecraft in space. However, the following question might answer a few questions,

What are the objectives of the JUICE Mission?

The “Juice mission” aims to explore Jupiter and three of its icy moons – Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto – to gain insights into the evolution and habitability of icy worlds around Jupiter. The mission takes advantage of the findings from earlier expeditions such as Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, and Cassini, which allowed us to examine the largest moons of the giant planets more closely. Once considered lifeless, frigid collections of ice and stone, these moons are now known to be planet-like bodies with fascinating pasts.

The exploration of icy moons has expanded our scope in the search for life in the Universe. Scientists used to focus their search for extraterrestrial life on planets with Earth-like environments, such as Mars, but recent discoveries suggest that icy moons may also have the potential to support life, as they could contain liquid water oceans beneath their icy crusts. The question remains whether life could exist in the seabeds of these distant moons, similar to life on Earth around hydrothermal vents.

This is where the “Juice mission” comes in. With its advanced technologies and scientific instrumentation, Juice will explore the icy moons of Jupiter and gather critical information about their composition, geology, and potential habitability. By studying the subsurface oceans, Juice will help us unlock new insights into the conditions necessary for life to exist beyond Earth.

Juice’s data may also be useful for systems around Jupiter-like exoplanets, expanding our search for life in the Universe. In summary, the Juice mission is the European Space Agency’s boldest mission to date, with the potential to greatly enhance our understanding of our solar system and the potential for life beyond Earth.

Now you probably might be wondering,

How will the JUICE spacecraft achieve its objectives?

JUICE is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter in 2031. This will mark the beginning of its ambitious mission, which is to study Jupiter’s icy moons in detail. The solar-powered spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for 2.5 years. It will also make close flybys of the planet’s three largest moons: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Thanks to the spacecraft’s ability to fly within 200 to 1,000 kilometers (about 120 to 620 miles) of the moons, close studies will be possible. This will allow for unprecedented detail in the study of these moons.

JUICE Mission
JUICE Mission Milestones. Image Credit: ESA

In the first phase of the mission, JUICE will fly by Europa twice and Ganymede and Callisto 12 times each. During the last phase of its mission, JUICE will enter the orbit of Ganymede. This will make history, as it will be the first spacecraft to orbit a moon other than Earth’s. JUICE weighs 4,800 kilograms (about 10,600 pounds). This means that it requires nearly 3,000 kilograms (roughly 6,600 pounds) of fuel to execute the complex trajectories necessary for its mission. JUICE’s 10 cutting-edge instruments weigh only 104 kilograms (230 pounds) thanks to the European Space Agency’s past missions.

Hopefully, this mission will also be a great success. However, we got some insights for you on,

How will JUICE study the Galilean moons?

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or JUICE, is designed to study the icy moons of Jupiter in unprecedented detail. During its journey, JUICE will only conduct two flybys of Europa, approaching as close as 250 miles (400 kilometers) to the moon’s icy terrain on each of these passes. This is because Europa orbits Jupiter at a distance of 417,000 miles (671,000 km), and any spacecraft that stays that close to the planet would survive only a few months, at best, due to Jupiter’s extreme size and powerful magnetic field.

Similarly, JUICE will perform 21 flybys of Callisto, getting as close as 120 miles (200 km) from its surface. Callisto and Europa are two distinct worlds with noticeable differences. Callisto has a surface covered with numerous craters, and scientists believe it is the oldest surface in the solar system. Currently, it is not clear whether Callisto contains a subsurface ocean, which is present in Europa and Ganymede. Fortunately, JUICE will provide insight into this question.


JUICE will perform 12 flybys of Ganymede and approach as near as 250 miles to the moon, which is magnetically active, before finally achieving an orbit around it. Ganymede, 665,000 miles (1.07 million km) from Jupiter, is less likely than Europa to support life. JUICE may discover something unexpected. JUICE will orbit Jupiter for 2.5 years. It will often be within 200 to 1,000 kilometers (120 to 620 miles) of the icy moons. During the mission’s final phase, JUICE will closely study Ganymede for a minimum of nine months. The spacecraft will orbit a moon other than ours for the first time. JUICE’s 10 state-of-the-art instruments will provide valuable data on these distant moons’ composition, geology, and habitability.

Let’s conclude this discussion,


On the whole, the ESA’s Juice mission is expected to bring valuable information about Jupiter’s moon. The spacecraft is ready to study Jupiter’s icy moons.  This groundbreaking project will unlock new insights into our solar system and the potential of life beyond Earth. The Juice spacecraft will utilize advanced technologies and will enter into orbit around Jupiter in 2031. It will surely provide unprecedented detail to make close studies possible. JUICE will help us understand the evolution and habitability of icy worlds around Jupiter and expand our scope in the search for life in the Universe. Cosmologists are counting on JUICE to bring more valuable insights from the mission.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Eighty moons of Jupiter are yet to be discovered. Fifty-seven of these moons are named by International Astronomical Union (IAU). And the remaining Twenty-three will be detailed in the future.

Ganymede (Moon):

This is the largest moon in the solar system moons. Juno spacecraft also performed close flybys of Ganymede in 2019 and 2021. Juno Cam imager captured Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede during Juno’s mission on June 7, 2021. The images can also show smaller craters about 25 to 30 miles (40 to 50 km) wide. Experts believe that Ganymede’s volcanic activity forms these creators.

During its 24th orbit of Jupiter, the Juno spacecraft performed a distant flyby of Ganymede on December 25, 2019. With this flyby, Juno was able to capture images of the moon’s polar regions. Juno performed a second flyby at a closer distance of about 1000 kilometers. This flyby also provided a gravity assist to reduce Juno’s orbital period from 53 days to 43 days. This encounter provided additional images of the surface.

Europa (Moon):

Of the four Galilean moons, Europa is the smallest one. Europa is the sixth closest moon to Jupiter. Along with the water ice, this moon may be covered by an ocean of water or slushy ice beneath. Thus, Europa might have twice as much water as Earth. Astrobiologist believes that Europa might be habitable. The Juno orbiter flew by Europa at a distance of 352 km (219 mi) in 2022.

Io (Moon):

Io (moon) is the innermost and the most geologically active object in the Solar system because of its 400 active volcanos. Due to volcanic eruption this moon’s surface contains sulfur. This sulfur paints the surface in various quiet shades of yellow, red, white, black, and green.

During Perijove 25 on February 17, 2020, Juno closely approached Io. Juno spacecraft is to fly by Io with altitudes of 1,500 kilometers on December 30, 2023, and February 3, 2024. Io’s volcanoes are caused by hot silicate magma.

Callisto (Moon):

Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer, physicist, and engineer, discovered Callisto in 1610. Covered with impact craters, the surface of Callisto is the oldest and most heavily cratered in the Solar System. Moreover, Callisto is the second-largest moon of Jupiter and the third-largest moon in the Solar System moons. In the 38th Jovian flyby, Juno captured some gorgeous photos of Callisto.

When did the Juno mission end?

The Juno mission was planned to end after completing 37 orbits in February 2018. The spacecraft orbited Jupiter 12 times before the end of July 2018. NASA’s Juno mission was set back to July 2021.

Juno will continue to investigate the giant planet in our solar system until September 2025, or until the spacecraft’s end of life when this will all is over. To avoid a crash with Jupiter’s moons, the spacecraft will perform a controlled deorbit and disintegrate into Jupiter’s atmosphere. However, NASA has said that the spacecraft will never be back on Earth again.


Published by: Sky Headlines