Media Get Close-Up of NASA’s Jupiter-Bound Europa Clipper

Pleasure is mounting as the biggest spacecraft NASA has ever constructed for a planetary mission will get readied for an October launch.

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California are operating remaining exams and making ready the company’s Europa Clipper spacecraft for the subsequent leg of its journey: launching from NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle in Florida. Europa Clipper, which can orbit Jupiter and concentrate on the planet’s ice-encased moon Europa, is anticipated to depart JPL later this spring. Its launch interval opens on Oct. 10.

Members of the media placed on “bunny fits” — outfits to guard the huge spacecraft from contamination — to see Europa Clipper up shut in JPL’s historic Spacecraft Meeting Facility on Thursday, April 11. Mission Supervisor Jordan Evans, Launch-to-Mars Mission Supervisor Tracy Drain, Mission Workers Scientist Samuel Howell, and Meeting, Take a look at, and Launch Operations Cable Harness Engineer Luis Aguila had been on the clear room flooring, whereas Deputy Mission Supervisor Tim Larson, and Mission Designer Ricardo Restrepo had been within the gallery above to elucidate the mission and its targets.

Planning of the mission started in 2013, and Europa Clipper was formally confirmed by NASA as a mission in 2019. The journey to Jupiter is anticipated to take about six years, with flybys of Mars and Earth. Reaching the gasoline large in 2030, the spacecraft will orbit Jupiter whereas flying by Europa dozens of occasions, dipping as shut as 16 miles (25 kilometers) from the moon’s floor to collect knowledge with its highly effective suite of science devices. The knowledge will assist scientists study in regards to the ocean beneath the moon’s icy shell, map Europa’s floor composition and geology, and hunt for any potential plumes of water vapor that could be venting from the crust.

“After over a decade of exhausting work and problem-solving, we’re so proud to point out the almost full Europa Clipper spacecraft to the world,” mentioned Evans. “As crucial parts got here in from establishments throughout the globe, it’s been thrilling to see components turn out to be a higher complete. We are able to’t wait to get this spacecraft to the Jupiter system.”

On the occasion, a cutaway mannequin displaying the moon’s layers and a globe of the moon helped journalists study why Europa is such an fascinating object of research. Readily available with the small print had been Mission Workers Scientist and Assistant Science Methods Engineer Kate Craft from the Johns Hopkins Utilized Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and, from JPL, Mission Scientist Robert Pappalardo, Deputy Mission Scientist Bonnie Buratti, and Science Communications Lead Cynthia Phillips.

Past Earth, Europa is taken into account one of the crucial promising probably liveable environments in our photo voltaic system. Whereas Europa Clipper is just not a life-detection mission, its main science purpose is to find out whether or not there are locations under the moon’s icy floor that might help life.

When the principle a part of the spacecraft arrives at Kennedy Area Middle in just a few months, engineers will end making ready Europa Clipper for launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, attaching its large photo voltaic arrays and punctiliously tucking the spacecraft contained in the capsule that rides on high of the rocket. Then Europa Clipper might be prepared to start its house odyssey.

Europa Clipper’s three essential science aims are to find out the thickness of the moon’s icy shell and its floor interactions with the ocean under, to research its composition, and to characterize its geology. The mission’s detailed exploration of Europa will assist scientists higher perceive the astrobiological potential for liveable worlds past our planet.

Managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California, JPL leads the event of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Utilized Physics Laboratory (APL) for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. APL designed the principle spacecraft physique in collaboration with JPL and NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Planetary Missions Program Workplace at NASA’s Marshall Area Flight Middle in Huntsville, Alabama, executes program administration of the Europa Clipper mission.

Discover extra details about Europa right here:

Jia-Rui Cook dinner / Gretchen McCartney / Val Gratias
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0724 / 818-393-6215 / 626-318-2141
jia-rui.c.cook / /

Karen Fox / Charles Blue
NASA Headquarters
301-286-6284 / 202-802-5345 /



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