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Heading towards Jupiter

ESA selected Czech research hardware to investigate Jupiter and its moons

ESA finalized the selection of the scientific hardware for JUICE probe with an objective of detailed planetary research of Jupiter and its moons. The probe will carry on-board 11 scientific instruments with co-developments provided also by Czech researchers. JUICE is going to start its journey in 2022 and is expected to reach Jupiter by 2030.

Probe JUICE is the first from big scientific ESA missions selected in mid 2012 according the Cosmic  Vision strategy for 2015-2025. Facing the mission complexity and financial demands, the probe is expected to have a high scientific value. Based on scientific requirements, the model of research hardware was set up and in the middle 2012 ESA announced an open tender for the flight scientific hardware. The tender was opened not only for competing teams from ESA member states, but also for research teams from USA, Russia and Japan. Most of the 31 proposals were focused on UV and infrared spectrometry and plasma research. 

Three Czech scientific institutes entered international clusters participating on bids for three research instruments for the JUICE mission. The successful team from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics was a member of a consortium developing RPWI instrument, measuring electro-magnetic fields and assessing radio and plasma waves in the magnetosphere of Jupiter and Ganymede. The consortium is lead by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Uppsala. The Institute of Atmospheric Physics contributes to the development of low-frequency receiver of electromagnetic waves, management of the whole research consortium and it will ensure the biological cleanness of all subsystems also known as planetary protection.

The Institute of Astronomy is the member of consortium lead by the King’s College London, which succeeded with its scientific proposal to build an instrument called J-MAG. The main research objective of this hardware is to assess the interaction of Ganymede with the magnetosphere of Jupiter and to detect underground oceans at Ganymede, Europa and Callisto by measuring the induced magnetic field. The Czech Institute of Astronomy is going to contribute to the project creating the global numerical simulation of the interaction Ganymede with the magnetosphere with the magnetic plasma of Jupiter. 

Out of three institutes, only the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics Charles University in Prague, member of consortium building the CAPAGE instrument and led by the Planetary research institute in Toulouse, did not succeeded. This instrument, main purpose of which was to measure charged particles around Ganymede, was not selected for the JUICE mission.  The team from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics was expected to develop avionics module for the electron spectrometer.