NASA's Europa Clipper survives and thrives in 'outer space' on Earth

Let's start

Later this spring, the spacecraft will be delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There, teams of engineers and technicians work on final products with an eye on the clock. Europa Clipper's launch period opens on October 10.

After liftoff, the spacecraft will head toward Mars, and by late February 2025, it will be close enough to use the red planet's gravity for extra speed. From there, the solar-powered spacecraft will return to Earth in December 2026 to receive another slingshot boost from our home planet's gravity.

It then heads to the outer solar system, where Europa Clipper is expected to reach Jupiter in the 2030s. The spacecraft will circle the gas giant as it flies by Europa 49 times, within 16 miles (25 kilometers) of the moon's surface. Collect data with its powerful package Scientific instruments. The information gathered will tell scientists more about the moon's watery interior.

More about the mission

Europa Clipper's main science goal is to find out if there are places below the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa that could support life. The three main scientific objectives of the mission are to determine the thickness of the moon's icy shell and its surface interactions with the ocean below, to study its composition, and to characterize its geology. The mission's detailed study of Europa will help scientists better understand the astronomical potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet.

Managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California, JBL is developing the Europa Clipper mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. APL designed the main spacecraft system in collaboration with JBL and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama performs program management for the Europa Clipper mission.

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More information about Europa can be found here:

europa.nasa.gov

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