Europa: Exploration

Illustration of the Europa Clipper spacecraft
This close-up image taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft covers about 93 miles (150 kilometers) by 125 miles (200 kilometers) of Europa’s surface. It shows a region crisscrossed with a network of fine grooves and double ridges – pairs of long parallel lines indicating elevated features in the ice. Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit (SRU) – a star camera used to orient the spacecraft – obtained the black-and-white image during the spacecraft’s flyby of Europa on Sept. 29, 2022, at a distance of about 256 miles (412 kilometers). - More about this image

Five spacecraft have visited Europa up close and scientists do regular checkups on the tiny moon with the powerful Hubble Space Telescope. More missions are planned.

  • NASA is building a spacecraft called Europa Clipper and ESA (European Space Agency) has launched a mission called JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer).
  • Most of what we know about Europa comes from several years of orbital observations by the Galileo and, currently, the Juno spacecraft.
  • The moon was first observed up close during the Jupiter flybys of Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
  • Europa, one of the first moons discovered beyond Earth, played a crucial role in understanding how our solar system works.

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