New Jupiter Mission to Target Alien Oceans
The European Space Agency’s next big mission may be particularly juicy for scientists hunting for signs of extraterrestrial life. The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or JUICE, spacecraft has been formally approved and is now slated to blast off for the gas giant planet in 2022, ESA officials announced.
The space probe will tour three of Jupiter’s largest moons: Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa—all were discovered by Galileo Galilei in the early 1600s. Previous studies have hinted that the moons could harbor liquid oceans—and maybe life-forms—below their icy surfaces. JUICE will also make constant observations of Jupiter’s atmosphere and magnetic field and will track the planet’s interactions with its moons.