To answer key scientific questions about Planetary Systems, it is particularly fruitful to study the Jupiter System, the most complex "secondary" planetary system in the solar system, using the power of in situ exploration. Two key questions should be addressed by future missions:A-How did the Jupiter System form? Answers can be found in the most primitive objects of the system: Callisto seems to have been only partly differentiated; its bulk composition, interior and surface terrains keep records of its early eons; the 77 or so irregular satellites, wandering far out beyond the region occupied by the Galilean satellites, are unique and precious remnants of the populations of planetesimals which orbited the outer Solar System at the time of Jupiter's formation.B-How does it work? One can address this question by studying and understanding the chain of energy transfer operating today in the Jupiter System: how is gravitational energy from Jupiter transferred to Io's interior via tidal heat dissipation to power its volcanic activity? How does this activity in turn store energy into the Io plasma torus to drive the whole magnetosphere into motion? How does the interplay between the Io torus and the solar wind dump energy into heating of Jupiter's upper atmosphere, or release it into the tail and interplanetary space?Starting from the measurement requirements derived from these two objectives, we propose two ambitious mission scenarios, named JCO and JSO, to meet these requirements. Both use the combination of a main spacecraft and one or several specialized small platforms.JCO, the Jupiter Callisto Orbiter, first flies by and characterizes several irregular satellites during its Jovian orbital tour. It is then injected into Callisto orbit to characterize its surface and interior, investigate its degree of differentiation and search for the possible existence of an internal ocean. As an option, JCO could release a lander to Callisto's surface to perform key measurements of chemical composition, clues to understanding the formation scenario of the Galilean moons.JSO, the Jupiter System Observer, performs several fly-bys of Io and visits several irregular satellites during its Jovian orbital tour. As an option, JSO could release one or several small satellites to perform multi-point studies of the dynamics of the Jovian magnetosphere. At the end of its tour it could be injected into a halo orbit around the L1 Lagrangian point of the Sun-Jupiter system to monitor the solar wind upstream of the Jovian magnetosphere, measure Jovian seismic oscillations, and perform a comprehensive survey of the irregular satellites.Led by China under the name of GAN De, the first astronomer to have claimed an observation of a moon of Jupiter four centuries BC, and broadly open to international collaboration, a mission flying to Jupiter in the 2030's according to either one of these scenarios will be able to capitalize on the legacy of previous missions to Jupiter (Juno, JUICE, Europa Clipper) and to trigger a very exciting international collaboration to unravel the mysteries of the origins and workings of the Jupiter system.
EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- May 2020