If alien life does exist in our solar system, scientists believe they’re most likely to find it on Mars or the icy moons of Saturn or Jupiter.
That’s why there is so much excitement about a new spacecraft that will this week depart Earth and make an arduous eight-year journey towards the largest planet in our solar system.
Once it arrives, the Juice satellite – one of the most daring space missions Europe has ever attempted – will make a series of flybys of Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons Callisto, Ganymede and Europa.
As it soars closer to these worlds than ever before, the six-tonne spacecraft will use an advanced suite of instruments to explore the gas giant and investigate whether any of the satellites that surround it are habitable.
Juice will blast off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana at 13:15 BST on Thursday (April 13) — piggybacking on an Ariane 5 rocket similar to the one that propelled the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit in December 2021.
Read more: Is Jupiter’s icy moon home to ALIENS? European Space Agency will launch a spacecraft to Europa this WEEK in search of life