In search of life on the moons of Jupiter


The European Space Agency has announced the launch of its Juice probe for 2023. Belgium and several of its companies are involved in this mission to detect possible life on three of Jupiter's moons.

The European Juice probe will be launched into space in 2023 on the Ariane 5 rocket, but is not due to reach Jupiter until 2031 after a journey of 600 million kilometres.

This probe is equipped with multiple instruments and is the result of successful cooperation between European companies and institutes.

On the Belgian side, the Royal Observatory of Belgium and the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy have collaborated in the development and use of testing and calibration equipment for a hyperspectral imager (MAJIS).

Private companies have also contributed to the project. Antwerp Space, based in Hoboken, has provided a subsystem that will ensure good communication with the earth throughout the mission and allow radio experiments.

Lambda-X, based in Nivelles, has developed and certified a series of four camera lenses for satellite tracking and observation. Euro Heat Pipes (EHP), another Nivelles company, has supplied a series of 27 heat pipes, i.e. thermal regulation systems.

We should also mention the Liège Space Centre (CSL) which has validated the probe's solar panels so they can withstand extreme temperature variations.

This will be a wonderful project for observing Jupiter and its three large oceanic moons in detail, with the hope of detecting traces of the possible existence of life!