by Nadezhda YEVDOKIMOVA, Cand. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), Space Research Institute (IKI), Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow
The RAS Institute of Space Research held an international conference in March of 2013 discussing the planned interplanetary voyage to Ganymede, Jupiter's largest satellite, and the research objectives and experiments of a descent module there. Scheduled for 2023, this mission will be a breakthrough in space studies. It is realized within the framework of the JUICE project (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer) of studying Jupiter's ice moons. The European Space Agency that initiated this project intends to send an orbital station to Ganymede a year before the start of the Russian Jovian probe. The conference and discussions held there were supported by COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) and the Russian Foundation of Basic Research. Taking part were as many as 50 planetary scientists of Europe, Russia and the United States involved with Jupiter and its satellites.
The flight toward Jupiter will take about eight years, and proceed in a combination ballistic system including four gravitational maneuvers at Venus and Earth at the heliocentrical stage of the mission; it will end in a cascade of maneuvers near the Jovian moons. The descent module to land on Ganymede will be another acid test for the mission.
In this country the complex of related problems is the responsibility of the RAS Institute of Space Research, the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, and the Lavochkin Research and Production Association. Meeting at the conference, delegates of these bodies reviewed problems of the initial stage of the project (such as a kit of research instruments on orbital and
land modules, interaction with the JUICE probe and ground stations) together with results of the work done over these last years in studying Ganymede and Jupiter.
Ganymede, the largest of the Jovian satellites (as many as fifty have been det ... Читать далее