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Madrid / Juice, the space mission that will try to unveil the secrets of Jupiter and its moons, will be equipped with ten instruments, two of which, a camera and an altimeter, have been designed and manufactured in Spain, and are ready to begin the first trials mechanics and technicians.

Jupiter, along with its more than sixty satellites, and the trio of icy moons (Amaltea, Metis and Tebe), form a mini solar system that has become a target for the study of habitable environments.

The Juice mission, which will launch in 2022 and reach the Jovian system in 2029, will spend three years examining Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere, its magnetosphere, its faint dark rings on the planet and the most important satellites: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, which could hide oceans below the surface of liquid water and contain habitable environments.

The trip will culminate in Ganymede, where Juice (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) will measure its magnetic field. It will be the first time that a space mission orbits a natural satellite other than the Moon.

Juice will be equipped with ten high-precision instruments, from cameras through a radar capable of penetrating into ice, an altimeter, various radio-scientific experiments and various sensors to monitor the magnetic fields and charged particles of the Jovian system.

To design them, scientists have had to overcome several obstacles marked by the intense radiation of Jupiter, which will force to protect the instruments under a sarcophagus made with insulating materials.

In addition, the electronic components must also be very resistant to radiation “especially heavy solar wind ions that reach Jupiter,” explains Luisa Lara, a researcher from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA) of the State Agency of the Council Superior of Scientific Investigations (CSIC), the only Spanish scientific institution that participates in the mission.

Another challenge has been to design sub-systems of the instruments that generate little electromagnetism and that do not interfere in the work of other instruments of the ship, especially with J-MAG, designed to measure the magnetic field of Ganymede, and that “will give us information inside and about the existence of a salty sea, “says Lara.

But, broadly speaking, the limitations “have been marked by the science that we want to make, the type of orbits that will be made around the planet and the satellites, and the strict requirements in terms of radiation tolerance, energy that the ship receives in the orbit of Jupiter and the mass, about 1,800 kilos. “


One of the instruments designed in Spain, specifically in the IAA, is the Janus camera, of medium / high resolution, which is equipped with filters to study the surface of Ganymede and see colors and spectral characteristics of some minerals and salts.

In addition, it carries filters to analyze the atmosphere of Jupiter and study methane and hydrogen, while trying to determine the parameters of Ganymede rotation, data that can help to know the interior of the satellite in which it is believed that there may be a liquid subsurface ocean where the conditions of habitability are given.

The camera will also have 13 filters that will be housed in a wheel “the size of a coffee saucer that comes to be 14 centimeters in diameter, which, as a whole, does not exceed 700 grams”, and that will allow knowing “how unequivocally the composition of Ganymede, and of Europe and Callisto, to a lesser extent, since they will be flown less times “, clarifies the researcher.


The other instrument is Gala, a laser altimeter that will work in coordination with the camera, and that will emit a ray of light in the infrared that will hit the surface (of its satellites) and that when returning to Gala and measure the time of flight of the photons will allow to draw a topographic profile of the satellite.

In the coming months, Airbus will start testing the prototypes designed in the European research teams and will carry out technical tests to ensure the success of Juice. In the case of Spain, the companies SENER and Alter TÜV Nord participate with the IAA in the design and manufacture of these validation models.

And, together with all these requirements, the mission must comply with strict guidelines for planetary protection, to minimize the risk of contaminating any of the potentially habitable moons (such as Europe), with terrestrial spores, viruses or bacteria, transported by the satellite. (September 24, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video (June 2016):

(Español) Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

Congratulations - you have completed Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.). You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
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Question 1
La noticia trata...  
de los datos obtenidos de una misión espacial en Júpiter.
de los instrumentos que serán utilizados en una misión espacial.
de una misión espacial en Júpiter que tendrá lugar el año que viene.
Question 2
Según el texto...  
se ha anunciado que la misión espacial Juice tendrá lugar dentro de un lustro.
está previsto que la misión espacial Juice tenga lugar en cuatro años.
ya ha sido lanzado Juice.
Question 3
Sobre los instrumentos que se utilizarán en esta misión se dice que...  
más de la mitad de ellos han sido diseñados y fabricados por españoles.
algunos han sido diseñados y fabricados por españoles.
todos han sido diseñados por ingenieros españoles.
Question 4
En la noticia se dice que...    
no es necesario que todos esos instrumentos sean probados antes de que comience la misión Juice.
todos esos instrumentos ya pueden ser probados antes de que comience la misión Juice.
ya están finalizando todas las pruebas para saber cómo responden los instrumentos que se utilizarán en esa misión.
Question 5
En el texto se dice que...    
se recogerá información de todas las lunas de Júpiter.
se descarta que la misión Juice se centre en las lunas heladas de Júpiter.
Juice tendrá como objetivo estudiar la atmósfera de Júpiter y tres lunas de este planeta.
Question 6
Sobre los instrumentos se dice que...  
deben ser capaces de resistir la radiación que hay en Júpiter.
ni la intensa radiación ni el electromagnetismo pueden ocasionar problemas al correcto funcionamiento de esos aparatos.
aún no son capaces de resistir la radiación que hay en la atmósfera de Júpiter.
Question 7
El instrumento Gala...  
no contará con un láser para poder realizar un perfil de la superficie de Júpiter y sus lunas.
deberá realizar un perfil sobre cómo es la superficie de esas lunas de Júpiter.
solo se centrará en tomar muestras de la atmósfera de las lunas de Júpiter.
Question 8
En el vídeo se habla...  
del lanzamiento de una sonda que llegará a Júpiter en unos diez años.
de una sonda que ha llegado a la órbita de Júpiter.
de la preparación de una misión espacial para estudiar el planeta Júpiter.
Question 9
En el vídeo se  dice que...  
Júpiter es un planeta rocoso de gran tamaño.
Júpiter es un planeta gaseoso de gran tamaño.
Júpiter es un planeta gaseoso muy pequeño
Question 10
Según el vídeo,  la sonda Juno...  
tomará imágenes de muy buena resolución de Júpiter.
no podrá tomar imágenes de alta resolución del planeta Júpiter.
no será la primera sonda que toma imágenes de alta resolución del planeta Júpiter.
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