Ready for science: All instruments are installed on the Europa Clipper

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have completed the installation of all scientific instruments on the Europa Clipper. In the near future, they will begin tests, the purpose of which will be to check the readiness of the earth messenger to withstand the conditions of space flight.

Europa Clipper Scientific Filling

Europa Clipper’s target is Europa, moon of Jupiter, with a huge ocean hiding under its icy surface. According to many scientists, the conditions inside it can contribute to the maintenance of life. 

During its mission, Europa Clipper is expected to carry out 49 close flybys of Europa. The data collected during these studies will help to learn more about the surface of the moon and assess the potential viability of its ocean.

Europa Clipper received a set of nine scientific instruments for this purpose. Three of them (a mass spectrometer, a dust analyzer and a spectrograph) will study the very rarefied atmosphere of Europa. It consists of ice and dust particles that are ejected into space by micrometeorite impacts, as well as water vapor, the source of which is presumably geysers associated with the subsurface ocean.

Europa Clipper also maps Europa in detail using a set of cameras. A spectrometer with the MISE visualization function will help to map the distribution of salts and organic molecules on its surface. There will also be an instrument on board the probe that detects thermal radiation. It will help you find areas with geysers.

Preparing the Europa Clipper for tests. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In order to look under the icy shell of the moon, Europa Clipper will use radar and a magnetometer. Their data will help determine the thickness and salinity of the Europa ocean.

Launch date of Europa Clipper

Now that Europa Clipper has acquired all the scientific instruments, the specialists will proceed to the next stage of mission preparation. In their course, they will subject Europa Clipper to a series of tests that should certify its readiness to withstand space flight.

The launch of the mission is scheduled for October 2024, and a Falcon Heavy rocket will be used for it. The Europa Clipper is scheduled to arrive to Europa in 2030.

You can also read about another already launched spacecraft called JUICE, which also targets Europa.

According to

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