NASA's Jupiter space mission has been named 'Europa Clipper'

We've known for a couple years now that NASA is planning to investigate Jupiter's moon Europa, doing so to assess its potential habitability, and now that future mission has an official name: Europa Clipper. Such is the name that will be given to the spacecraft tasked with flying to and studying the moon. NASA is planning for the spacecraft to make between 40 and 45 main passes of Europa.

Europa has long fascinated scientists, and it has more recently been the subject of numerous high-resolution and post-processed color images. The moon appears, visually speaking, to have streaks smudged across its surface, and those are joined by what are obviously deeper grooves snaking through the moon's surface.

Though the surface is an icy crust, the moon is largely thought to have a salty ocean located beneath, one that contains salt water. That checks one of the boxes necessary for life, with the others being sufficient energy sources and the key chemicals for forming life. This NASA mission will help establish whether all those key components are present.

As for the name, it's not new — you may have heard about it as far back as 2015, and that's because NASA has been using it informally for months. Apparently liking the title, the space agency has officially adopted it as the project's name, getting inspiration from clipper ships that would sail quickly back in the 19th century.