Why Does NASA Want to Explore Jupiter’s Ocean Moon?

Why Does NASA Want to Explore Jupiter’s Ocean Moon? (Europa Clipper Science Overview)
May 30, 2024
Historical DateMay 15, 2024
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Everywhere there’s water on Earth, there’s life. Does that hold true elsewhere in our solar system?

NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will investigate Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, which — with its subsurface ocean — is one of the most promising places in our solar system to find environments capable of supporting life. While Europa Clipper isn’t a life-detection mission, it will be the first to conduct a detailed survey of this icy moon to answer questions about Europa’s potential habitability and composition.

The mission’s main goals are to determine the thickness of Europa’s icy shell; confirm the presence of an ocean; investigate the make-up of that ocean; and characterize the geology of the surface. The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter and make approximately 50 flybys of Europa. It’s equipped with a powerful suite of instruments that will work in sync to gather measurements and high-resolution images.

Europa Clipper is expected to launch in October 2024 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will arrive at the Jupiter system in 2030.

For more information on the mission go to: https://science.nasa.gov/mission/europa-clipper/.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/APL