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The ACM anti-coincidence detector module consists of a semiconductor detector ionizing radiation and electronic circuits for signal processing. Source: ÚEF SAV, v. v. i.

The ESA JUICE space probe to carry a detector from Slovakia to Jupiter

13. 4. 2023 | 311 visits

The long-awaited launch of the European Space Agency's JUICE (JUPiter ICy moons Explorer) space probe to Jupiter is scheduled for today. It should arrive at its destination in July 2031, and its task will be to study the particle environment around Jupiter and its moons. The probe will carry a total of 10 scientific instruments on board, including the PEP (Particle Environment Package) apparatus, the construction of which was contributed by scientists from the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

A research team from the Institute of Experimental Physics SAS (ÚEF SAV, v.v.i.) in Košice developed and supplied the so-called anti-coincidence detector ACM module for the JUICE mission. Its task is to ensure the effective detection of particles of lower energies against the background of strong ionizing radiation, especially high-energy electrons from the intense radiation Van Allen belts of Jupiter.

"Electrons from the radiation belts can penetrate even the shielding mantle of scientific instruments and cause false reactions in their sensitive physical sensors. And the ACM detector supplied by us serves precisely to exclude these false cases from the recording of scientific data," said one of its engineers, Ján Baláž from ÚEF SAV.

The detector was developed and constructed as part of the ESA-PECS Slovakia project solution from the programme to support Slovakia's accession process to the European Space Agency.          Since October 2022, Slovakia has already been an associate member of the ESA. It should become a full member after seven years of associate membership.

The ESA JUICE space probe will be launched into space by the Ariane rocket, which will launch from the European Kourou Cosmodrome in French Guiana at 2:15 p.m. CET. The SPACE::TALK programme event will be dedicated to the start of the ambitious ESA JUICE mission. Those interested can watch the discussion and the live broadcast from the start today from 1:00 p.m. in Bratislava at Lab.café at Námestie SNP 25 and in Košice at the Department of Space Physics of ÚEF SAS SPACE::LAB on Bulharská street.

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