(AGENPARL) – ven 20 gennaio 2023 [header.png]
Galileo tribute unveiled as Juice says ‘Farewell, Europe’
Friday 20 January, 2023
– A commemorative plaque celebrating Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s moons has been unveiled on ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice. The spacecraft has just completed its final tests before departing Toulouse, France, for Europe’s Spaceport to count down to an April launch.
As part of the final preparations a commemorative plaque was mounted on the spacecraft as a tribute to Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei who was the first to view Jupiter and its four largest moons through a telescope in January 1610. His observation that the moons changed position from night to night overturned the long-held idea that everything in the heavens revolved around Earth. The moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – were to become collectively known as the Galilean satellites in his honour.
“Unveiling the plaque is a beautiful moment in this intense chapter preparing the spacecraft for launch,” says Giuseppe Sarri, ESA’s Juice project manager. “It’s not only an opportunity to pause and reflect on the decades-long hard work that has gone into conceiving, building and testing the spacecraft, but also to celebrate the curiosity and wonder of everyone who’s ever gazed up at Jupiter in the night sky and pondered our origins – the inspiration behind this mission.
Galileo plaque unveiled on Juice spacecraft- ESA/M.Pedoussaut
Answering humankind’s big questions
Three of Jupiter’s largest moons – Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – hold vast quantities of water buried under their surfaces in volumes far greater than in Earth’s oceans. These planet-sized moons offer us tantalising hints that conditions for life could exist other than here on our pale blue dot, orbiting giant planets instead of hot stars. Jupiter and its family of large moons represent an archetype for giant gas planet systems across the Universe and as such are some of the most compelling destinations in our Solar System.
ESA and its international partners are almost ready to send Juice on its quest to explore this fascinating planet and intriguing moons. With its suite of powerful instruments, Juice will see Jupiter and its moons in a way that Galileo couldn’t even have dreamt of. The data returned by the spacecraft will serve many future generations of scientists determined to uncover the mysteries of the jovian system and its place in the evolution of our Solar System.
Exploring Jupiter- spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Jupiter: NASA/ESA/J. Nichols (University of Leicester); Ganymede: NASA/JPL; Io: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; Callisto and Europa: NASA/JPL/DLR
“With Juice’s departure for the launch site fast approaching, we remember its long Earthly journey through various Airbus sites in Europe towards final integration and more than 500 Airbus employees who prepared the spacecraft for its eight-year cruise,” says Cyril Cavel, Juice Project Manager at Airbus Defence and Space. “It has been an incredible adventure, along with more than 80 companies across Europe, to bring ESA’s vision to life and ultimately study Jupiter and its icy moons in-depth.
Notes for editors:
The plaque features imagery of Galileo Galilei’s first observations of Jupiter and its moons from a copy of the Sidereus Nuncius hosted in the library of the Astronomical and Copernican Museum, at the headquarters of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Rome, Italy. The copy is one of the first 550 ever printed in 1610 in Venice.
ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, is humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System. It will make detailed observations of gas giant Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. This ambitious mission will characterise these moons with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life. Juice will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.
Juice launches on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou in April 2023. It has an eight year cruise with flybys of Earth and Venus to slingshot it to Jupiter. It will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter, before changing orbits to Ganymede.
Juice is a mission under ESA leadership with contributions from NASA, JAXA and the Israeli Space Agency. It is the first Large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme.
It will be available in other European languages in early 2023.
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About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania are Associate Members.
ESA has established formal cooperation with four Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.
For further information:
ESA Newsroom and Media Relations Office – Ninja Menning
ESA – European Space Agency (HQ), 24, rue du Général Bertrand, 75007, Paris | France
(AGENPARL) – ven 20 gennaio 2023 [header.png]