Wednesday, 25 November 2020

The radar is ready. Destination: Jupiter's icy moons

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Rime, that is the name of the radar, is ready for launch to Jupiter and its icy moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

The instrument, developed for the Juice mission of the European Space Agency (Esa), has just been delivered and will soon be installed on board.

Researchers from Trentino have contributed to the mission. In fact, Lorenzo Bruzzone of the University of Trento is the Principal Investigator for the radar instrument, while Francesca Bovolo of Fondazione Bruno Kessler is Coordinator of the technical side of the project.

The Italian Space Agency (Asi) has just released the news.

"Many theories have been proposed on the subsurface structure of Jupiter's moons since their discovery by Galileo, theories that have sparked the imagination of so many scientists", said Lorenzo Bruzzone of the University of Trento and Principal Investigator of the radar. "Finally, with this first step, this is a great opportunity to advance our scientific understanding of the cosmos. For the first time, we may be able to solve some mysteries and take a look under the surface, searching for water".

Rime, which stands for Radar for Icy Moon Exploration, was commissioned by Asi to Thales Alenia Space, was built in Rome and L’Aquila, then shipped to Germany to Airbus Space, that will integrate it in Esa's Juice probe to explore Jupiter and its icy moons. The launch is planned for 2022, arrival at Jupiter in 2030.

Italy participated in the development of the radar instrument for Juice – JUpiter ICy moons Explorer – through the Italian Space Agency in the framework of an international collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Nasa.

The instrument could lay the foundations for future discoveries because, for the first time, Rime will look directly at what lies beneath the frozen crust of the Galilean moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

After Voyager and Galileo, missions that made history, Juice will further advance scientific knowledge. The goal of the mission is to investigate various aspects of the Jovian system, which are fundamental to learn about the habitability of Jupiter's moons.

The mission will also conduct new studies on the functioning of the solar system and the conditions for planet formation.