Friday, August 30, 2013

Russia, Europe Discuss Joint Missions to the Largest Moon in the Solar System

Enhanced-color Galileo spacecraft image of Ganymede's trailing hemisphere. The crater Tashmetum's prominent rays are at lower right, and the large ejecta field of Hershef at upper right. Part of dark Nicholson Regio is at lower left, bounded on its upper right by Harpagia Sulcus. Credit: NASA

Russia’s and Europe’s space agencies are considering teaming up to study the largest moon in the solar system, Jupiter’s Ganymede, the European Space Agency (ESA) chief said Thursday. ESA general director Jean-Jacques Dordain said Europe planned to send an orbiter to Ganymede, while for a separate mission Russia’s federal space agency, Roscosmos, envisaged sending a landing module. "We intend to study how these two missions may interwork, because our orbiter and the Russian landing module are capable of interacting with each other,” Dordain told reporters during the MAKS international air show near Moscow.

Russian and European scientists plan to begin the Jupiter missions in the early 2020s. If successful, the missions would be Russia and Europe’s first to an outer planet – as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are often referred to – apart from the ESA’s Huygens probe, which was delivered by the US Cassini spacecraft to Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005.

ESA’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer) project to study three of Jupiter’s moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa – at a cost of 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) was officially approved in May 2013. The European spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in 2022 and to reach Jupiter in 2030.

Artist's impression of JUICE spacecraft. The illustration shows Jupiter and its large moons: Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto. Credit: ESA; Artist: M. Carroll
Artist's impression of JUICE spacecraft. The illustration shows Jupiter and its large moons: Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto. Credit: ESA; Artist: M. Carroll

Dordain also said the Russian side called for a strategic partnership in solar system research, including missions to Mars and Earth’s moon.

Giacinto Gianfiglio, the system engineering manager of the ExoMars mission by the ESA in collaboration with Roscosmos, said that probe would be launched on a Russian Proton-M rocket in January 2016 and would reach Mars some 10 months later. In 2018, a Roscosmos-built lander is to deliver the ESA-built rover to the Martian surface.

Credit: RIA Novosti


  1. Terraformation of our Moon will require a close look at all the separate atmospheric conditions on all our moons throughout our solar system. Titan with Cassini proved to be a game changer and these other research areas are a must for initial understanding of how to create the spherical layers to form an at-mo-sphere and how to charge up a climatory reaction to produce meteorological conditions of weather /2.5 p.s.i. pressure / lightning / ozone / H / O / H2O / oceans / Lakes / Life supporting photosynthesis with the seeds we sow from Earth - Migrating lifeforms thru stellar routes and cosmic ways

  2. I think the resources are being spent on in literally the wrong direction. The examination of another moon will only indicate the stage of its evolution or weathering but not give us any new information we cannot glean from further examination of Earths Moon.So if we are going to study a moon lets exhaust the one in our back yard. It may be SLIGHTLY cheaper.

    However I again stress the importance of the further investigation of Venus. I cannot understand why billions are being spent on reaching mars and now we chose to go past with Jupiter. I can understand the interest in Ganymede it clearly doesn't fit. My opinion is that it is a planet which was from another Solar System which came off orbit.

    However the critical issue here is the understanding that based on my theory we have less than a billion years left on planet earth. It sounds like a lot of time but it relatively isn't.

    The planet which will be the next habitable one is Venus and any governments looking for resources and territory would need start there. As Earths will be worth less even if our cesium spills does not cause us to glow for eternity and mars will evolve to Jupiter which is inhabitable and thus a waste of funds.

    The focus on Venus will guarantee that we are in a position to settle and have the craft and all the equipment ready.

    For more info youtube Evolution of Planets Theory.