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Jupiter mission frontrunner in ESA competition
Posted: Fri, Apr 20, 2012, 6:57 AM ET (1057 GMT)
ESA Juice mission illustration A spacecraft that would study three of Jupiter's largest moons, including going into orbit around one of then, is the top choice of a committee selecting Europe's next major space science mission. A European Space Agency (ESA) committee met this month and select the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer, or Juice, as its preferred option for ESA's Cosmic Vision competition for large-scale science missions. Juice would launch in 2022 on an Ariane 5 and arrive at Jupiter in 2030. The spacecraft would make a series of close flybys of Callisto and Europa before entering orbit around Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede. Juice, with a total cost of over €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) reportedly beat out proposals for a large x-ray telescope and a gravitational wave observatory. ESA will make a final decision on the Cosmic Vision mission in early May.
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