- The European Space Agency’s ESA Jupiter probe has been successfully launched towards Jupiter.
- On Thursday, the first attempt was canceled due to a lightning strike.
- Aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, the probe took off from the French port of Guyana at 2:14 p.m. on Friday.
“It’s a lot of relaxation,” Peter Werz, a researcher from the University of Bern who participated in the mission, said after the successful launch. It was a big step for the physicist. Ten years ago, he and his team set out to build measuring instruments for the juicing mission. The intellectual work on the mission began years earlier.
The cancellation of the first launch attempt was announced Thursday, just a few minutes before the planned launch from the European Space Agency’s control room in Darmstadt. “The time period for such a launch is one second, and if the weather is unfavorable in that second, the launch will be delayed,” astrophysicist Audrey Voorberger at the University of Bern commented via video link. The Bernese citizen is a co-investigator on Juice’s mission.
Eight years down the road
Now the probe will fly in bigger and bigger circles around Earth until it has enough momentum to fly toward Jupiter. The juice probe’s journey is expected to take eight years. In 2031, it should reach the giant planet, which is 628 million km away. “Then the science really begins,” Wurz enthuses. Juice stands for «YuPeter ICy moons Hexplorer ».
Scientists at the European Space Agency hope the mission will provide them with important insights into Jupiter and its moons: the question at hand is whether life could exist on them. This is the farthest ESA mission to date.
The probe contains scientific instruments with which it can take a look at the moons “Europa”, “Callisto” and “Ganymede”. Among other things, radar and laser measurements are planned for overflights.
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