Launch of the JUICE mission to Jupiter

The Politecnico di Milano is part of the scientific team that studied MAJIS

On 14 April, at 14:14 Italian time, JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer), was launched from the Kourou base in French Guiana, the European Space Agency probe that will reach the Jupiter system in 2031 to make detailed observations of the gaseous planet and three of its moons: Callisto, Europa and Ganymede.

The Politecnico di Milano is also involved in the mission: researchers at the MetroSpace Lab in the Department of Mechanics, on the Lecco Campus, helped to design of one of the main instruments on board the probe: MAJIS (Moons and Jupiter Imaging Spectrometer), an imaging spectrometer that operates on two different spectral channels, near infrared and infrared. The instrument was built by a French and Italian consortium, (French Principal Investigator, Francois Poulet from the IAS in Paris, with Italian Co-Principal Investigator, Giuseppe Piccioni from the INAF in Rome) with Belgian support; the optical head of the instrument is the Italian contribution.

In particular, the team from the Politecnico led the initial phase of the thermomechanical project, studying a passive cooling system capable of maintaining the infrared sensor at temperatures below 90 K (-183.15 °C) and the entire optical system at temperatures below 140 K (-133.15 °C), even though the satellite will operate at close to Earth temperatures.

The executive design and construction of the instrument were conducted by Leonardo, funded by the Italian Space Agency, under the supervision of the scientific team, within which the Politecnico group will remain active during the flight and operational phase of the mission, first to refine the thermal model of the instrument, using the data collected during the cruise phase, and then to support the planning of the observations.

For further information: Space @polimi