JUICE spacecraft launched to investigate the habitability of Jupiter’s icy moons

Photo by JODY AMIET/AFP via Getty Images

The European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched its JUICE spacecraft to study Jupiter’s icy moons on Friday, April 14th. The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission will visit three of Jupiter’s largest moons — Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto — to investigate whether they could be potentially habitable, a question that has been igniting debate among astronomers since the first evidence of subsurface oceans on these moons was seen by the Galileo mission in the 1990s.

JUICE launched at 8:14AM ET from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, carried by an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch had been delayed from its original launch date of April 13th due to weather conditions, but the skies today were clear for liftoff.

The spacecraft separated from…

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