Scientists believe one of the following Jupiter’s moons could harbor life: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. This is due to their vast oceans found underneath their outer icy surfaces. Alien life could be anything starting from unicellular micro-organisms to even shrimp-sized aliens. However, in order to find if this is the case a mission unlike any others is required.
At the end of the summer ESA and Airbus are scheduled to sign a new contract for “JUpiter ICy moons Explorer,” or JUICE, mission. It will launch in 2022 and will reach Jupiter’s system by 2030. In a statement presenting the new contract with Airbus ESA announced the following: “The mission will culminate in a dedicated, eight-month tour around Ganymede, the first time any icy moon has been orbited by a spacecraft”. As expected NASA won’t let ESA steal the show. NASA will be involved first by helping out with the mission by designing one of the instruments on board. In parallel they are working on their own missions which will one day bring NASA to Jupiter’s moons.