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Europa Clipper: A Mission to Explore Europa’s Habitability

Presentation #521.03 in the session Dark Sea: Icy ocean worlds and astrobiology (iPosters).

Published onOct 20, 2022
Europa Clipper: A Mission to Explore Europa’s Habitability

With a launch readiness date of late 2024, NASA’s Europa Clipper will set out to explore the habitability of Jupiter’s moon Europa. In the early 2030s, the spacecraft will enter Jupiter orbit then fly by Europa nearly 50 times to collect data on Europa’s ice shell and ocean, study its composition, investigate its geology, and search for and characterize any current activity.

The mission’s science will be accomplished using a highly capable suite of remote-sensing and in-situ instruments. The remote sensing payload consists of the Europa Ultraviolet Spectrograph (Europa-UVS), the Europa Imaging System (EIS), the Mapping Imaging Spectrometer for Europa (MISE), the Europa Thermal Imaging System (E-THEMIS), and the Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface (REASON). The in-situ instruments comprise the Europa Clipper Magnetometer (ECM), the Plasma Instrument for Magnetic Sounding (PIMS), the SUrface Dust Analyzer (SUDA), and the MAss Spectrometer for Planetary Exploration (MASPEX). Gravity and Radio Science (G/RS) will be achieved using the spacecraft’s telecommunication system, and valuable scientific data will be acquired by the spacecraft’s Radiation Monitoring system (RADMON).

The spacecraft and the payload are currently under construction, as the mission begins its assembly, testing, and launch operations (ATLO) phase. Recent major milestones include evaluation of candidate tours by the science team, delivery of the propulsion and radio frequency module from APL to JPL, delivery of ~half of the science instruments, and preparations for the cruise and operational phases of the mission. The project, flight system, and payload have completed their Critical Design Reviews, and the project has completed its System Integration Review. Europa Clipper is now formally a Phase D mission. Meanwhile, the science team is preparing a set of manuscripts describing the mission’s science and instruments for publication in the journal Space Science Reviews.

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