MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian scientists will construct equipment for a European Space Agency probe to Jupiter, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology said Wednesday.
Along with observing the solar system’s largest planet, the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer is to visit three of the four Jovian moons discovered by Galileo: Callisto, Ganymede and Europa.
The spacecraft is planned to carry 11 scientific instruments, one of which will include a radiation detector built by Russia.
The detector would be the first Russian device to visit the outer solar system and will help scientists characterize wind patterns on Jupiter as well as analyze gases escaping from Europa.
According to the institute, the head of the Russian effort, Alexander Rodin, said that German scientists approached their Russian counterparts to develop equipment necessary to detect and analyze tetrahertz-band radiation.
Such a detector would be sensitive enough to observe volatile compounds as they leak out of cracks in the ice covering Europa, possibly revealing details about the water oceans that most planetary scientists believe exist beneath the moon’s surface.
In January, the head of the ESA told reporters that further cooperation with Russia could follow last year’s agreement to jointly develop the ExoMars mission to search for signs of life on the Red Planet.
The mission would be the third in the history of spaceflight to orbit the solar system’s largest planet and is scheduled for launch in 2022.
It will arrive at the gas giant after a voyage of eight years.