NASA has announced that it has confirmed the next phase of the Europa Clipper mission is going to happen. The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of a final design. After the final design is completed, the construction and testing phase of the mission will commence.
That phase will build and test the spacecraft and the science payload for the craft. NASA notes that it is exciting to move the Europa Clipper mission one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of the ocean world of Europa.
The team says that the Europa Clipper mission is building on the scientific insights received from the flagship Galileo and Cassini spacecraft. Europa Clipper will explore Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, and investigate if the moon could have conditions suitable for life under the icy shell.
The mission wants to hone its insights in on astrobiology. NASA wants to develop the spacecraft and mission cost-effectively. To do so, NASA expects to have the Europa Clipper spacecraft complete and ready to launch as early as 2023.
The agency baseline commitment supports a launch readiness date of 2025. Development of the Europa Clipper mission is led by NASA JPL in California. The development is in partnership with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for the Science Mission Directorate. Europa Clipper is managed by the Planetary Missions Office at NASA’s Marchall Space Flight enter in Huntsville, Alabama.
“We are all excited about the decision that moves the Europa Clipper mission one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We are building upon the scientific insights received from the flagship Galileo and Cassini spacecraft and working to advance our understanding of our cosmic origin, and even life elsewhere.”