Not unexpectedly, the European Space Agency announced yesterday that it’s next large mission will be the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (aka JUICE). There’s a piece in Physics World about the selection – and rejection of the other two contenders, NGO and ATHENA. Andy Lawrence has commented already on his own blog and is also quoted extensively in the Physics World article.
A lot of allegations are flying around about how the selection process was conducted, specifically relating to conflicts of interest. I don’t know any details, so I won’t comment on whether this is justified outrage or simply sour grapes.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, I think I agree with what Andy Lawrence says in the Physics World story in that the final decision was pretty inevitable after NASA’s decisions in the areas of gravitational waves and X-ray astronomy pulled the rug out from under the other contenders. I’ll also add that, although it’s far from my own specialism, I think JUICE looks like a very exciting mission. I wish it every success.
It just remains to be seen how long the recriminations will rumble on.Follow @telescoper