ESA’s latest interplanetary mission, Juice, lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 14:14 CEST on 14 April 2023 to begin its eight-year journey to Jupiter, where it will study in detail the gas giant planet’s three large ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
Juice – JUpiter ICy moons Explorer – is humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System. This ambitious mission will characterise Ganymede, Callisto and Europa with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life. Juice will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.
Following launch, Juice will embark on an eight-year journey to Jupiter, arriving in July 2031 with the aid of momentum and direction gained from four gravity-assist fly-bys of the Earth-Moon system, Venus and, twice, Earth.
Flight VA260 is the final Ariane 5 flight to carry an ESA mission to space.