|BRB, goin' to Jupiter
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
The European Space Agency has selected its first L-class mission, the JUICE mission to Jupiter and its Galilean moons.
Here's a quote from the article (from my boss):
"People probably don't realise that habitable zones don't necessarily need to be close to a star - in our case, close to the Sun," explained Prof. Michele Dougherty, a Juice science team member from Imperial College London, UK.
"There are four conditions required for life to form. You need water; you need an energy source - so the ice can become liquid; you need the right chemistry - nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen; and the fourth thing you need is stability - a length of time that allows life to form.
"The great thing about the icy moons in the Jupiter system is that we think those four conditions might exist there; and Juice will tell us if that is the case," she told BBC News.
It's scheduled to launch in 2022. Fingers crossed that I will be working on it then, too!
(x-posted to science)
When would be the soonest that you could apply for something like this? And why this vs all the other things that are shot into space?
I'm a little confused by your first question. Do you mean what would be the soonest that we can apply to put one of our instruments on board?
The selection process for this mission took five years. There was an initial call for proposals, for which there were 15-20 proposed missions, and then it was whittled down slowly to the last three (JUICE, NGO and Athena). The final decision is made based on both the quality of the science the feasibility of the spacecraft being built in time for the launch window and to budget.
When is the soonest that you could apply for a job on a program like this?
Ah! Well, that depends on the instrument AO (Announcement of Opportunity) which will take place later this year. After it's decided who will build what, money will then be disseminated to the institutes that win their bids. Then the hiring process for people to build them will start. So, probably not until some time next year.
I find that awesome beyond words. I'm really surprised it's taken this long to come together, and what a shame about the political crap preventing the partner orbiter of Europa. But still...Cooooooool. I have fingers crossed for you!
Thanks! The AO (Announcement of Opportunity) call for instruments will be happening fairly soon, and of course our group will be applying to build the magnetometer.
...don't suppose you have any insight on what the plan was that the US didn't like? I may be biased because Arthur C Clarke chose Europa, but just seems a missed opportunity and I wonder what the "programattic and budgetary differences" really are. Sounds suspiciously political. =/
I'm not really high enough up the food chain to have insider knowledge on NASA's decision-making process (and if I were, I probably wouldn't speculate, given that it could cost me my job). I think NASA is starting to develop a reputation for making partnership promises that it doesn't keep. Its overarching goals keep changing - partly this is political, because each president seems to have a different idea what NASA should be aiming for, but isn't really willing to pay for it. ESA, on the other hand, has a firm grasp on the size of its budget and is thus far sticking to its Cosmic Vision plan. This is making it seem like a much more reliable bet, in terms of partnership in space science, for the foreseeable future.
It's th most exciting mission I've heard about in a long time, pity I'll have to wait so long to see what it discovers!
Heh. Yes, outer planetary science is a long, long game. It's not a field for those who get the most satisfaction out of instant gratification!
Awesome news! Most of my friends from uni work (or worked) on gravitational wave stuff (Lisa etc.) and are generally really put out that JUICE won instead *g*. But I've always been more interested in Jupiter and it's moons!
Poor LISA. It's really starting to suffer from "always the bridesmaid" syndrome. Hopefully LISA Pathfinder will push it forward.