ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) has taken its first monitoring camera images showing part of the spacecraft with Earth as a stunning backdrop.

The mission launched on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou on 14 April 14:14 CEST and the images were captured in the hours afterwards. 

Juice has two monitoring cameras located on the ‘body’ of the spacecraft to record various deployments. The images provide 1024 x 1024 pixel snapshots. The images shown here are lightly processed with a preliminary colour adjustment. 

A scientific camera will be used for taking high resolution images of Jupiter and its icy moons once in the Jovian system in 2031. 

Juice monitoring camera 1 (JMC1) is located on the front of the spacecraft and looks diagonally up into a field of view that sees a part of one of the solar arrays, and will eventually see deployed antennas.

Juice monitoring camera 2 (JMC2) is located on the top of the spacecraft and is placed to monitor the multi-stage deployment of the 16 m-long Radar for Icy Moons Exploration (RIME) antenna. RIME is an ice-penetrating radar that will be used to remotely probe the subsurface structure of the large moons of Jupiter.

RIME is currently in stowed configuration; it will unfold in stages over the coming days. Images will be taken to capture the full deployment. 

The monitoring cameras will also be active during various mission operations, including gravity assist flybys of the Moon, Earth and Venus during the cruise to Jupiter.

About Juice

Juice is humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System. After an eight-year journey to Jupiter, it will make detailed observations of the gas giant and its three large ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. This ambitious mission will characterise these moons with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life. Juice will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe. 

Source: ESA