24/7 Space News
Europa Clipper gears up with full instrument suite onboard
NASA's Europa Clipper, with all of its instruments installed, is visible in the clean room of High Bay 1 at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Jan. 19. The tent around the spacecraft was erected to support electromagnetic testing.
Europa Clipper gears up with full instrument suite onboard
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 01, 2024

NASA's ambitious Europa Clipper mission, a project that aims to unravel the mysteries of Jupiter's ice-encased moon, Europa, has recently achieved a significant milestone. With less than nine months left before its scheduled launch, the mission team has successfully integrated all nine of its science instruments into the spacecraft. This integration marks a crucial step in the preparation for the mission, which is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California.

Slated for an October liftoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Europa Clipper spacecraft is designed to conduct a detailed study of Europa, one of the prime candidates in our solar system for potentially hosting life. The spacecraft's journey to the Jupiter system, culminating in its arrival in 2030, will not involve a landing on Europa. Instead, it will orbit Jupiter and conduct 49 flybys of Europa over four years, leveraging its suite of sophisticated instruments to assess the moon's habitability.

JPL's Robert Pappalardo, the project scientist for the mission, emphasized the collaborative nature of the instruments, stating, "The instruments work together hand in hand to answer our most pressing questions about Europa." The mission aims to delve into various aspects of Europa, from its core and rocky interior to its ocean, ice shell, and even its thin atmosphere.

A key feature of the Europa Clipper's mission strategy is the synchronized operation of its instruments. Pappalardo highlighted the importance of this integration: "The science is better if we obtain the observations at the same time." This approach ensures comprehensive data collection during each flyby, painting a complete picture of Europa's environment.

The spacecraft's instruments are designed to study Europa from the inside out. A magnetometer will measure the magnetic field around Europa, essential for understanding the moon's subsurface ocean. This instrument works in conjunction with a plasma analyzer, which helps in accurately measuring the magnetic fields distorted by charged particles around Europa.

Europa's faint atmosphere, although only a fraction of the pressure of Earth's atmosphere, is a focus of the mission. It is expected to provide insights into the moon's surface and interior. Three instruments - a mass spectrometer, a surface dust analyzer, and an ultraviolet spectrograph - will analyze gases, dust, and look for plumes, respectively.

The spacecraft is also equipped with cameras that will capture high-resolution images of Europa's surface, providing the first global map of the moon. These images, along with data from an imaging spectrometer, will help identify the composition of Europa's surface, including ices, salts, and organic molecules.

Understanding Europa's ice shell, estimated to be 10 to 15 miles thick, is another critical objective. A radar instrument aboard the spacecraft will probe the ice shell, searching for subsurface water. Furthermore, the mission will study Europa's internal structure by measuring its gravitational field, using the spacecraft's telecommunications equipment.

With all instruments now aboard, the mission team has commenced comprehensive testing of the spacecraft. Following these tests, Europa Clipper will be transported to Kennedy Space Center, where it will be launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

Related Links
Europa Clipper
The million outer planets of a star called Sol

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby
Paris (ESA) Nov 17, 2023
ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) launched from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana on 14 April 2023. It's on a mission to make detailed observations of the giant gas planet and its three large, ocean-bearing moons - Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. But Juice won't begin its investigations into the nature and possible habitability of the Jupiter system until its arrival in 2031. Why does it take so long to get to Jupiter? Well, the short answer is that its less to do with the dist ... read more

Space Beach Law Lab: Shaping the Future of Space Law at Queen Mary Conference

Space Perspective secures investment for carbon-neutral space tourism

Axiom 3 astronauts undock from ISS for trip back to Earth

Virgin Galactic Marks 11th Spaceflight with Full Passenger Manifest

Britain's space capabilities boosted by Pulsar Fusion's latest engine test

Dream Chaser Spaceplane Undergoes Extreme Testing at NASA's Armstrong Facility

Shake, rattle and launch: Dream Chaser spaceplane passes vibration test

New Satellite Launch Marks a Milestone in China's Commercial Space Sector

A Drive With a View: Sols 4084-4085

Sols 4086-4088: Groundhog Day in Gale

Lake deposits in Idaho give scientists insight into ancient traces of life on Mars

Bright Rocks on the Horizon: An Exciting Glimpse of Uncharted Territory

Space Pioneer and LandSpace Lead China's Private Sector to New Heights in Space

BIT advances microbiological research on Chinese Space Station

Shenzhou 18 and 19 crews undertake intensive training for next missions

Tianzhou 6 burns up safely reentering Earth

Rocket Lab Boosts Capital with $355 Million in Convertible Senior Notes Amid Growth Plans

Sidus Space Enhances IP Portfolio with New Patent Application for Modular LizzieSat System

Terran Orbital announces agreement with Shareholder Group

Geespace achieves milestone in satellite constellation development for future mobility

Spaceborne Computer-2 sets new benchmark for AI and ML on ISS

Electron Rocket to Deploy Astroscale's Debris Inspection Satellite in Space Sustainability Effort

BlackStar Orbital to open new spacecraft manufacturing facility in Sierra Vista by 2026

Heritage ERS-2 satellite to reenter Earth's atmosphere

What Kind of World is LHS 1140b

Ice and fire: Antarctic volcano may hold clues to life on Mars

Carbon Monoxide Dynamics Offer New Insights into Exoplanet Habitability

Researchers spying for signs of life among exoplanet atmospheres

Europa Clipper gears up with full instrument suite onboard

New images reveal what Neptune and Uranus really look like

Researchers reveal true colors of Neptune, Uranus

The PI's Perspective: The Long Game

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.