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Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE): exploring the emergence of habitable worlds around giant planets

by Federico Tosi (INAF-IAPS Roma)

Mar 14, 2013 from 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM

Where Seminars' room, floor -1, via Ranzani 1

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The discovery of four large moons orbiting around Jupiter by Galileo
Galilei four hundred years ago spurred the Copernican Revolution and
forever changed our view of the Solar System and universe. Today, Jupiter
is seen as the archetype for giant planets in our Solar System as well as
a paradigm for the numerous giant planets known to orbit other stars. In
many respects, and in all their complexities, Jupiter and its diverse
satellites form a mini-Solar System.In the framework of the ESA "Cosmic
Vision" programme, the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission has been
selected as the L-class mission to be launched in 2022, with an arrival at
Jupiter planned in 2030. JUICE is an ESA-led mission arising from the
reformulation of the EJSM-Laplace mission, which was instead an ESA-NASA
project. Here we discuss the main scientific aspects of the current JUICE
mission concept.
The overarching theme for JUICE is: "The emergence of habitable worlds
around gas giants". The focus of JUICE is to characterise the conditions
that may have led to the emergence of habitable environments among the
Jovian icy satellites, with special emphasis on the three ocean-bearing
worlds, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. Ganymede is identified for
investigation since it provides a natural laboratory for analysis of the
nature, evolution and potential habitability of icy worlds in general, but
also because of the role it plays within the system of Galilean
satellites, and its unique magnetic and plasma interactions with the
surrounding Jovian environment. For Europa, where two targeted flybys are
planned, the focus will be on the chemistry essential to life, including
organic molecules, and on understanding the formation of surface features
and the composition of the non water-ice material, leading to the
identification and characterisation of candidate sites for future in situ
Furthermore, JUICE will provide the first subsurface observations of this
icy moon, including the first determination of the minimal thickness of
the icy crust over the most recently active regions. The study of the
diversity of the satellite system, important also to shed light on their
origins, will be completed with twelve targeted flybys of Callisto and
additional information gathered remotely on Io and smaller moons.
Focused studies of Jupiter's atmosphere and magnetosphere, and their
interaction with the Galilean satellites, will further enhance our
understanding of the evolution and dynamics of the Jovian system.
The circulation, meteorology, chemistry and structure of Jupiter will be
studied from the cloud tops to the thermosphere. These observations will
be attained over a sufficiently long temporal baseline with broad
latitudinal coverage to investigate evolving weather systems and the
mechanisms of transporting energy, momentum and material between the
different layers. The focus in Jupiter's magnetosphere will include an
investigation of the three dimensional properties of the magnetodisc and
in-depth study of the coupling processes within the magnetosphere,
ionosphere and thermosphere.

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