In recent years, space probes have found hints that various celestial bodies in our solar system have conditions where life could develop, but as of yet, no direct evidence has been uncovered by these missions. The European Space Agency has announced plans to send a new space probe to Jupiter, in an effort to determine whether there is indeed life there or not.
The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission, or Juice, will be studying Jupiter’s moons of Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. The icy crusts of these moons hold the potential for a liquid water ocean beneath each of them, making them excellent candidates for harboring life forms. With an expected launch date in 2022, the probe will take a seven-year journey to Jupiter, then spend three-and-a-half years studying it’s target moons in the Jovain neighborhood.
Oxford researcher Joanna Barstow is looking forward to Juice’s survey: "Since long before we started our robotic exploration of the solar system, we wondered if there was life on another world. Some of the moons of Jupiter, even though their surfaces are covered with ice, might have liquid water oceans hiding under the surface. Maybe they are sheltering bacterial life as well? We’d love to find out."