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IRF Uppsala
RPF programme
IRF-U Staff
PhD studies
Solar Orbiter
Swedish Institute of Space Physics (59°50.272′N, 17°38.786′E)
Student project at IRF Uppsala

Student project (3c)/Studentprojekt (3hp)

Cruise phase science opportunities with the JUICE spacecraft

Student: Derek van Winden, Uppsala University
Supervisor: Niklas Edberg
Period: Winter 2022


The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer of ESA is scheduled to be launched in 2023. During its more than seven year long cruise through the solar system en route to Jupiter there will be plenty of time to perform experiments. In this project, we have identified two types of science opportunities during the cruise phase. The first one involves measuring the properties of the solar wind during conjunctions (radial alignement) between JUICE and other spacecraft. Several conjunctions between JUICE and spacecraft like the Parker Solar Probe, BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, MAVEN, and Mars Express have been found. These conjunctions allow for observing how the solar wind evolves as it travels essentially radially through the solar system as well as its variations with latitude. There are several periods at which variations along distance (radial alignment) or latitude (radial and longitudinal alignment) can be detected in this way. Another type of experiment that could be performed is the detection of interplanetary dust in the dust clouds that are thought to envelop the orbits of Venus and Mars. During the cruise phase, five crossings through the primary population of the Martian dust halo, and two through Venus' dust belt take place. If the instruments on JUICE can detect the dust grains, the density of the belt along the direction of motion could be mapped.


A new launch date and cruise trajectory were decided on after the completion of the project. The student later went back and reran the software on the new orbit elements and updated the report accordingly, well after the project had been approved. Thank you, Derek!

  • Preliminary report (Feb 2021, soon obsolete as launch date and cruise trajectory changed)
  • Final report (updated in Nov 2023 with the actual mission profile)

JUICE in space. [Image credit: ESA]
last modified on Tuesday, 21-Nov-2023 15:21:08 CET