NASA Plans Contribution to European Jupiter Mission

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WASHINGTON — NASA plans to make a $100 million science contribution to the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) program, a large-scale science mission planned by the European Space Agency (ESA) that will launch in 2022 to observe the gas giant and its moons.

U.S. science teams may propose studies as either principal investigators supplying instruments or instrument components, or as co-investigators on European science teams that provide their own instruments, said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. NASA intends to formally solicit proposals June 28, and intends to spend $100 million over the lifetime of the program.NASA announced its intention to participate in Juice June 15 in a presolicitation notice posted online. The U.S. space agency was expected to make some kind of contribution to the project, which was officially selected as ESA’s next large-scale science mission May 2. ESA has capped its financial contribution to Juice at 870 million euros ($1 billion).

Teams must notify NASA of their intent to submit a proposal by Aug. 2. Finished proposals are due Sept. 20, according to NASA’s June 15 notice.

NASA will award funding “some time in fiscal year 2013,” Green said. “Late in 2013 we’ll have funding available to start the contracts and start the process.”

ESA is seeking a Proton rocket from Russia to send the Juice mission on its way to the jovian system, where it would arrive in 2030. Juice’s primary mission would last three years, much of which will be spent observing Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.

“It has fly-bys of Callisto and Europa, but it’s really a mission to Ganymede,” Green said.

 

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