Contribution Of PRIDE VLBI Products To The Joint JUICE-Europa Clipper Moons’ Ephemerides Solution

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
May 2, 2024
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Contribution Of PRIDE VLBI Products To The Joint JUICE-Europa Clipper Moons’ Ephemerides Solution
JUICE-Europa Clipper Tage Team exploration of Jovian Space — ESA

In the coming decade, JUICE and Europa Clipper radio-science will yield the most accurate estimation to date of the Galilean moons’ physical parameters and ephemerides. JUICE’s PRIDE (Planetary Radio Interferometry and Doppler Experiment) will help achieve such a solution by providing VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) observations of the spacecraft’s lateral position, complementing nominal radio-science measurements.

We quantify how PRIDE VLBI can contribute to the moons’ ephemerides determination, in terms of attainable solution improvement and validation opportunities. To this end, we simulated both single- and dual-spacecraft VLBI, exploiting the potential simultaneous tracking of JUICE and Europa Clipper.

We considered various tracking and data quality scenarios, and compared the formal uncertainties obtained with and without VLBI. This was performed for both global and local (i.e., per-flyby) estimations of the moons’ states, as achieving a global solution first requires proceeding arc-per-arc. We showed that both single- and dual-spacecraft VLBI only bring limited improvement to the global state estimation, but significantly contribute to the moons’ normal points (i.e., local states at flyby times), most notably in the out-of-plane direction.

Additionally, we designed a validation plan exploiting PRIDE VLBI to progressively validate the classical radio-science solution. By improving the local state estimations and offering various validation opportunities, PRIDE will be invaluable in overcoming possible dynamical modelling challenges. It can therefore play a key role in reconstructing a global solution for the Galilean moons’ dynamics with the uncertainty levels promised by JUICE-Europa Clipper analyses. This, in turn, is critical to the accurate characterisation of tidal dissipation in the Jovian system, holding the key to the long-term evolution of the Galilean moons.

Marie S. Fayolle, Dominic Dirkx, Giuseppe Cimo, Leonid I. Gurvits, Valery Lainey, Pieter N.A.M. Visser

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2405.00562 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2405.00562v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Marie Fayolle
[v1] Wed, 1 May 2024 15:12:19 UTC (1,471 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻