Photos for download at the end of the text
The European Space Agency ESA is going with them JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) for the first time on an exploration tour into the outermost solar system. The researchers assume that Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto harbor oceans below their surface and now want to investigate these potential habitats more closely. The Graz instrument is part of a magnetic sensor system that works together with the Imperial College London and the TU Braunschweig was built for precisely this scientific question.
45,000 working hours in Graz
“During the development period of more than five years, 21 technicians and physicists have invested more than 45,000 working hours in the timely completion of the worldwide unique sensor unit,” emphasizes Werner Magnes, deputy director and head of the magnetometer group at ÖAWInstitute, the excellent teamwork between the two Graz institutions. “In the past few years we have experienced many ups and downs, mastered a number of technical difficulties and tested many new design details for the inhospitable Jupiter environment,” adds Roland Lammegger, project manager at the Institute for Experimental Physics at Graz University of Technology.
Start of a 12 year journey
A 12-year journey began with the delivery of the aircraft to the project partner in London: After several test stations in Europe, the satellite launch in French Guiana in June 2022 and numerous planetary fly-bys, the Graz magnetometer will reach the Jupiter system in January 2030, and finally in September To enter the orbit of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede in 2032.
Further information on the JUICE mission and the Graz reference magnetometer can be found here on the OeAW website and in the press release from TU Graz for the start of the project in 2015.