NASA's Europa Clipper, which it describes as a ‘highly capable, radiation-tolerant spacecraft’, will make the treacherous journey to Europa.
In the hopes of finding life beyond our planet, NASA has confirmed a new mission to Jupiter ’s icy moon, Europa.
The space agency’s Europa Clipper, which it describes as a ‘highly capable, radiation-tolerant spacecraft’, will make the treacherous journey to Europa.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, said: “We are all excited about the decision that moves the Europa Clipper mission one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world.
“We are building upon the scientific insights received from the flagship Galileo and Cassini spacecraft and working to advance our understanding of our cosmic origin, and even life elsewhere.”
During the mission, the spacecraft will conduct an in-depth exploration of Europa, investigating whether the icy moon could harbour conditions suitable for life.
On board, the spacecraft will be several instruments, including an ice-penetrating radar which will determine the thickness of the moon’s icy shell.
The mission will also carry a magnetometer to measure the strength and direction oft eh son’s magnetic field. This will allow scientists to determine the depth and salinity of Europa’s ocean.
While this is all very exciting, sadly there’s a bit of a wait before the mission launches.
NASA is targeting to have the Europa Clipper spacecraft complete and ready to launch in 2023. It will then take the spacecraft over a year to reach the icy moon!