The JUICE mission takes off from French Guiana on April 14!
The JUICE mission takes off from French Guiana on April 14!

A Juicy Journey to Jupiter!

The JUICE spacecraft heads to Jupiter — and its icy moons.

Our Earth is an ocean world. No other planet has such large amounts of water. However, scientists say that some of Jupiter’s moons may have oceans under their icy crusts. A new mission is on the way to find out. A spacecraft called JUICE is headed to Jupiter — and its moons.

JUICE stands for “JUpiter ICy moons Explorer.” The spacecraft launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on April 14. It is now zipping through space on a long journey to Jupiter. After traveling for billions of miles, JUICE will get to the gas giant in 2031. Then its wild work will begin.

The bus-sized spacecraft will fly near three of Jupiter’s moons. They are Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. JUICE will do 35 flybys of those icy moons. Then it will begin to fly around Ganymede. It will be the first spacecraft to orbit another moon (other than Earth’s moon)!

No humans are on board JUICE. But the spacecraft has 10 instruments to study Jupiter and its moons. For example, it has radar that can look through the thick icy crust of the moons. Ines Belgacem is working on the JUICE mission for ESA. “I’m very excited to see what the radar will see,” the scientist explained. Belgacem wondered “if we’ll pockets of water close to the surface of Europa.”

Ganymede is the largest moon in the . As JUICE Ganymede, it will map the surface. “Ganymede is truly unique,” added Belgacem. She told News-O-Matic what makes the moon so different. “It’s the only one with its own magnetic field!” she said. “And we’re not sure why.” JUICE may help solve that mystery of Jupiter’s moon.

“I can’t tell what we will discover,” admitted Belgacem. “But we will try to gain a better understanding of the of these moons,” she explained. That includes how deep the oceans are under the surface.

There’s a big reason why scientists want to study these icy moons. After all, water is a key ingredient for life. Some people even wonder whether life could exist below the surface of Europa. JUICE won’t be able to tell if aliens are there. However, Belgacem said “it will help us better understand ocean worlds.”

Emma Bunce is a leading scientist on the JUICE mission. She hopes kids want to learn more about it. “We really need young people to be interested in JUICE,” she told News-O-Matic. “We will be waiting 8 years before the mission begins,” Bunce said. “So, the people who will be studying JUICE data are in school now!”

Updated April 14, 2023, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Russell Kahn (Russ)

The JUICE mission takes off from French Guiana on April 14!
The JUICE mission takes off from French Guiana on April 14!

Our Earth is an ocean world. No other planet has such large amounts of water. However, scientists say that some of Jupiter’s moons may have oceans under their icy crusts. A new mission is on the way to find out. A spacecraft called JUICE is headed to Jupiter — and its moons.

JUICE stands for “JUpiter ICy moons Explorer.” The spacecraft launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on April 14. It is now zipping through space on a long journey to Jupiter. After traveling for billions of miles, JUICE will get to the gas giant in 2031. Then its wild work will begin.

The bus-sized spacecraft will fly near three of Jupiter’s moons. They are Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. JUICE will do 35 flybys of those icy moons. Then it will begin to fly around Ganymede. It will be the first spacecraft to orbit another moon (other than Earth’s moon)!

No humans are on board JUICE. But the spacecraft has 10 instruments to study Jupiter and its moons. For example, it has radar that can look through the thick icy crust of the moons. Ines Belgacem is working on the JUICE mission for ESA. “I’m very excited to see what the radar will see,” the scientist explained. Belgacem wondered “if we’ll pockets of water close to the surface of Europa.”

Ganymede is the largest moon in the . As JUICE Ganymede, it will map the surface. “Ganymede is truly unique,” added Belgacem. She told News-O-Matic what makes the moon so different. “It’s the only one with its own magnetic field!” she said. “And we’re not sure why.” JUICE may help solve that mystery of Jupiter’s moon.

“I can’t tell what we will discover,” admitted Belgacem. “But we will try to gain a better understanding of the of these moons,” she explained. That includes how deep the oceans are under the surface.

There’s a big reason why scientists want to study these icy moons. After all, water is a key ingredient for life. Some people even wonder whether life could exist below the surface of Europa. JUICE won’t be able to tell if aliens are there. However, Belgacem said “it will help us better understand ocean worlds.”

Emma Bunce is a leading scientist on the JUICE mission. She hopes kids want to learn more about it. “We really need young people to be interested in JUICE,” she told News-O-Matic. “We will be waiting 8 years before the mission begins,” Bunce said. “So, the people who will be studying JUICE data are in school now!”

Updated April 14, 2023, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Russell Kahn (Russ)

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