The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer probe is placed in the Large Space Simulator at ESTEC’s ESA Test Center in Noordwijk. There will be rigorous and important thermal tests for weeks. This ESA probe aims to explore the icy moon Ganymede from 2032.
The probe called Juice is According to the European Space Agency Put it in the simulation room. This is the largest single room in Europe, 15 meters high and 10 meters wide. Soon you’ll be doing all kinds of thermal tests there for weeks. Once the door of this simulator is closed, the probe is exposed to very high and very low temperatures to ensure that the juice can withstand its mission conditions.
For example, Juice will first make a flight along Venus, among other things, reaching a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius. In contrast, in the Jupiter system, which is the name of Jupiter and its moons, the probe will experience temperatures of -180 degrees Celsius.
He tells de Volkskrant: Giuseppe Sarri, ESA’s project manager, says one cannot make mistakes and that using the simulator costs 20,000 euros a day. If a problem arises, there may be a delay of a few weeks. “You can never predict or calculate how a spacecraft will behave,” he says. “This is why this thermal vacuum test is necessary. You discover, for example, that a particular antenna gets very hot. In fact, some small adjustments are always needed afterwards.” It will be clear at the beginning of next month whether the investigation has been fully approved.
The juice will remain at ESTEC until July, after which the probe will be flown to Toulouse for a final round of testing, which will include testing whether the probe can withstand the vibrations encountered during the actual launch. From there, the flight will head to French Guiana, to be launched with an Ariane 5 missile in August next year. The juice won’t reach Jupiter until July 2031, after which the spacecraft will enter orbit around the icy moon Ganymede a year later.
The ESA probe will also study the icy moons Europa and Callisto, although it focuses primarily on Ganymede. This moon has a very deep ocean under its surface, where microorganisms can live. This ocean contains much more water than Europa and Ganymede also has a magnetic field to block out deadly radiation. Europe is the primary target of an American mission called Europa clipper.