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2022-02-08 Dr Mika Holmberg (ESA)

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission and the reliability of its future measurements

Abstract: The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) is ESA’s first large class mission to the outer Solar System. JUICE will explore Jupiter and its surrounding, with a special focus on the Jovian moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. These moons are suspected to hold potentially habitable water oceans under their very thick ice surfaces. JUICE is not designed to search for the life that the moons could harbour but to evaluate the suitability for life to exist (the habitability) of the moons. This will be done by measuring the properties of the moons with higher accuracy than ever before. But in order to make accurate estimates that will lay the foundation for future missions searching for life on the Jovian moons, we need to make sure that the JUICE measurements are as reliable as possible and that any possible measurement perturbation is accounted for. One important source of measurement perturbations is the spacecraft itself. The spacecraft will interact with its environment, causing it to charge up. The charging of the spacecraft easily disturbs the surrounding environment and therefore also the in-situ measurements of the spacecraft. How this occurs, what problems it creates and how we account for these problems is a currently largely unexplored field.

In this presentation I will talk about JUICE and its mission, and the future obstacles we will encounter and have to overcome in order to obtain reliable measurements from JUICE.