Friday, June 14, 2024

The Czechs tested a special coating for the probe to be examined by Jupiter


The cooperation of experts from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic thus continues to test another set of materials for future missions of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The Juice probe will be equipped with a special coating, which was specifically tested by scientists from the Cryogenics and Superconductivity Group at ASCR’s Brno Instrumentation Institute (UPT).

The tested surface treatment will be used as part of the planned probe thermal regulation within the JUICE mission (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer). It takes about four years to study in detail the gas giant planet Jupiter and its three largest icy moons: Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.

He will study, among other things, the structure of these moons, their underground ocean currents or test theories about magnetospheric processes around Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.

The objective is to try to answer questions about what are the necessary conditions for the formation of planets or if there are suitable conditions for life.

According to scientists, the thermal regulation of probes in space is highly dependent on the ability of the surface to absorb thermal radiation at a given temperature. The kit tested by Brno researchers will be used as part of the probe’s thermal control. The team measured the so-called total hemispheric emissivity, in the temperature range of minus 258 degrees Celsius to plus 27 ° C, of ​​coatings with different thicknesses. To do this, they used cryogenic equipment developed at ÚPT.

“The heart of our apparatus is a cylindrical measuring chamber, where two discs are placed in parallel in a vacuum, with a small space between them. One is from the investigated material and the other is a defined reference surface. We heat one of the discs to a certain temperature, which also causes the non-contact heating of the other colder disc, precisely through the energy transferred by thermal radiation. The Sun heats the Earth on the same principle, “described scientist Jiří Frolec.

“From the measured parameters, we can calculate the so-called emissivity or absorptivity of the sample, that is, the degree of capacity to emit (absorb) thermal radiation,” added a national expert.

Other Czech contributions to the Juice mission

Previously, scientists from the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, who built a prototype of a special power supply, or experts from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, for example, participated in the preparation of the Juice mission. They worked in plasma and radio wave research facilities in the Jupiter environment.

Assembly of the Juice probe in ESTEC clean rooms

Photo: ESA, Cryogenics and Superconductivity Group of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

The customer for the measurements described above is the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC), based in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, which is ESA’s main development and test center.

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
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