All systems JUICE

So the SPC has done its thing. Vast petitions and stern letters nothwithstanding, they have chosen JUICE and its all systems go for launch in 2022. Jupiter here we come. The official announcement is here. There’s some coverage already at the Beeb, and at Skymania. Always quick off the mark that Suthers. Andrew Coates and Michelle Dougherty do a splendid job on the embedded video at the Beeb article and wax lyrical about Life Under The Ice. Who wouldn’t want to check that out ?

There is also an article at Physics World including quotes from yours truly. You will note I have been nice about everybody. Except NASA of course.

So thats it for now. X-rated astronomers and gravy fans have a year to gird their loins. Who wants to open a book ?

24 Responses to All systems JUICE

  1. AthenaFan says:

    Athena Playlist:

    Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
    Cee Lo Green – F**k You
    Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
    Rush – Cygnus X-1
    Lena – Satellite
    The Who – Athena
    X-Ray Spex – Identity
    Depeche Mode – Corrupt
    Bon Jovi – Keep The Faith
    Lovespirals – Empty Universe
    Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
    Elbow – lippy kids
    Halls Of Classic – Failure To Launch

  2. andyxl says:

    Juice play list maybe includes “These boots were made for walking” by Nancy Sinatra

  3. […] the selection – and rejection of the other two contenders, NGO and ATHENA. Andy Lawrence has commented already on his own blog and is also quoted extensively in the Physics World […]

  4. stringph says:

    This sentence from a JUICE scientist is a gem of misdirection: “One of the main aims of the mission is to try to understand whether a ‘waterworld’ such as Ganymede might be the sort of environment that could harbour life”.

    Count the qualifications and hedges. *Try* to understand. A world *such as* Ganymede. *Might be*. The *sort of* environment. That *could* harbour life.

    Not ‘We will find out whether there is life on Ganymede’. Because they don’t have a hope. JUICE won’t even land, let alone take samples or dig beneath the ice: it’s just going to orbit around measuring the Jovian weather and taking spectra.

    Like previous planetary missions, they are living off the excitement of extraterrestrial life while not committing or even intending to address well-defined questions. Hang on for a decade or two of breathless speculation that might end up with us being no better informed than we are now.

    • The Aurora objectives from 2004 make similarly interesting reading:

      Perhaps a solar system specialist could comment on how many of these have been or will be answered by Aurora?

      • Monica Grady says:

        Come and see me on Tuesday, and I will talk you through Aurora’s contributions.
        (your head of dept, and solar system specialist………!)

      • andyxl says:

        Steve – maybe you should put a magazine down your trousers.

      • Michael Merrifield says:

        How was it, Stephen?

      • andyxl says:

        Did you go “Yaroo” and all that ? (Only Brits over a certain age need attempt to understand).

      • We haven’t discussed it at all, but I’ve been walking around with a nice fat Icarus volume down my pants just in case. (I didn’t want to use a journal I’d personally read…) I think (?) we’ll agree that even the most superb science isn’t helped by the wrong PR. Juice, Aurora, Athena, NGO, Plato — all genuinely fabulous but very different types of science, some exploratory/discovery and some targetted at answering discrete questions, and you don’t want to sell any one of them as something they’re not. Ironically I’ve just come from a Euclid consortium meeting, where I went on record speculating on what we’ll think 30 years from now was the best science Euclid generated, and my guess was that it’s in Euclid’s scope for the unexpected.

    • Even more useful would be the original UK Aurora science case, that used to be at . Does this document still exist anywhere?

    • Michael Merrifield says:

      I don’t think that slagging off the mission the other programmes lost out to, particularly when the scientist in question seems to be taking the responsible apprach of not overhyping what he hopes the mission will do, is a particularly productive way forward.

      • andyxl says:

        D’accord mon ami

      • A fair point. I’m not suggesting JUICE isn’t fabulous science. But since we’re inevitably comparing apples and oranges (sorry, can’t avoid the fruit metaphor), I think that asking about the differences between appliness and orangeness falls within fair comment. Is this field less amenable to posing and answering closed fundamental questions than eg CMB missions?

      • Michael Merrifield says:

        I think that probably is true Stephen. Space probes, while addressing scientific questions, have more of a mission of discovery which is necessarily less tied to testing the kind of closed scientific hypothesis that might appeal to a hard-core astrophysicist. But, as you say, there is something of an apples-and-origins issue here: if we were really primarily driven by how clearcut the scientific hypothesis under test was, everyone would be a lot more excited about STEP.

      • Michael Merrifield says:

        “origins”? Blooming autocorrection… but actually quite appropriate!

  5. Michael Merrifield says:

    Coincidentally, I was just reading “Scientific Uses of the Large Space Telescope,” which was the 1969 science case for what ultimately became HST (

    It is a fascinating read. For example, a large chunk of the chapter on “External Galaxies and the Universe” is given over to using galaxies as standard candles to measure q_0, with just the briefest comment at the end that it might be possible to learn something about galaxy evolution, too.

    I guess the moral of the tale is that the science case quite often bears little resemblance to the science that gets done.

    • ian smail says:

      …that’s the attraction of “observatories” rather than experiments.

      • Albert says:

        The best missions/telescopes do both. They a high-profile (avoiding the word ‘important’) project, and are open to use for other science. The longer lived a telescope, the less relevant the original case.

        But it is difficult to live of space alone. Missions are expensive, slow, and subject to a lottery. X-ray may need to focus on cheaper, faster (worser) missions which can be funded build and launched quickly, rather than the once-in-a-decade major mission.

      • Michael Merrifield says:

        It does make you wonder why we have just invested quite so much effort in writing the science case for E-ELT, though.

  6. […] the X-Ray and gravitational wave communities are upset at the choice.  Indeed, reading the comments section on astro blogs might make planetary scientists go a little pale. Not least the fact that ATHENA […]

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