Sunday, February 06, 2022

NASA's Europa Clipper Mission: Journey to an Ocean World

NASA's Europa Clipper Mission: Journey to an Ocean World

NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft will conduct a detailed survey of Jupiter's moon Europa to determine whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life. Europa Clipper will carry an advanced suite of science instruments to discover whether Europa hosts environments suitable for life. Scientists think under the moon’s icy shell there is a global, saltwater ocean with twice the volume of Earth’s oceans combined.

Europa Clipper is an interplanetary mission in development by NASA consisting of an orbiter. Currently planned for launch in October 2024, the spacecraft is being developed to study the Galilean moon Europa through a series of flybys while in orbit around Jupiter.

Europa Clipper will perform follow-up studies to those made by NASA's Galileo spacecraft during its nearly eight years in Jupiter orbit (1995-2003), which indicated the existence of a subsurface ocean underneath Europa's ice crust. Due to the adverse effects of radiation from Jupiter's magnetosphere in Europa orbit, it was decided that it would be safer to inject a spacecraft into an elliptical orbit around Jupiter and make 44 close flybys of the moon. The mission began as a joint investigation between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and will be built with a scientific payload of nine instruments contributed by JPL, APL, Southwest Research Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University and University of Colorado Boulder. 

The mission will complement the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) launching in 2022, which will fly-by Europa twice and Callisto multiple times before moving into orbit around Ganymede.

NASA's Europa Clipper mission is scheduled to launch in October 2024 aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, during a 21-day launch window. The spacecraft will use gravity assists from Mars in February 2025 and Earth in December 2026, before arriving at Europa in April 2030.

This mission is a scheduled flight of the Planetary Science Division, designated a Large Strategic Science Mission, and funded under the Planetary Missions Program Office's Solar System Exploration program as its second flight. It is also supported by the new Ocean Worlds Exploration Program. 

Learn more:

Download Europa Clipper Ocean World poster:

Credit: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Image Release Date: February 4, 2022

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Jupiter #Europa #Moon #Ocean #Astrobiology #Biosignatures #Habitability #Radiation #EuropaClipper #Spacecraft #SolarSystem #Exploration #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #Art #Illustration #Poster #Infographic #STEM #Education

No comments:

Post a Comment