Desti­na­tion Europa Sta­tus Es­ti­mated launch 2022 to 2025

How It Works - - SCIENCE -

NASA’S Europa Clip­per space­craft is a bold pro­posal to per­form the most in-depth study of Jupiter’s icy moon yet. By mak­ing dozens of fly­bys of Europa, the space­craft will re­peat­edly swoop past the sur­face as low as just 25 kilo­me­tres. The space­craft is de­signed to map the sur­face of Europa, while it will also use a radar in­stru­ment to work out how thick its icy shell is. It will also look for signs of plumes of warm water erupt­ing from the sur­face and try to ex­am­ine the par­ti­cles in the moon’s thin at­mos­phere. There have also been sug­ges­tions the space­craft will carry a lan­der too, al­though that might now be­come a sep­a­rate mis­sion. The big un­cer­tainty is what rocket will launch the Clip­per – ei­ther NASA’S much-de­layed Space Launch Sys­tem (SLS), or per­haps an­other ve­hi­cle all to­gether.

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