Europa Clipper

future Mission

Earth's first mission to conduct a detailed science investigation of Jupiter's moon Europa, where scientists predict a vast salty ocean lies beneath its icy crust, possibly holding the building blocks necessary to sustain life.

Type

Orbiter

Launch

Oct. 10, 2024

Target

Europa

Objective

Determine if Europa has conditions suitable to support life

Overview

Europa Clipper’s main science goal is to determine whether there are places below the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, that could support life.

The mission's three main science objectives are to understand the nature of the ice shell and the ocean beneath it, along with the moon’s composition and geology. The mission’s detailed exploration of Europa will help scientists better understand the astrobiological potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet.

Europa Clipper will orbit Jupiter, and make nearly 50 flybys of Europa at closest-approach altitudes as low as 16 miles (25 kilometers) above the surface, soaring over a different location during each flyby to scan nearly the entire moon.

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