So far, several spaceships have ventured into the neighborhood of this enigmatic Jupiter satellite. Pioneer 10 was the first to see Europe as it passed Jupiter, but the vehicle was too far away to see details on the moon. This mission was followed the next year by Pioneer 11, which was 600,000 km (375,000 miles) from the surface of the satellite.
Voyager 1 and 2 passed the Jupiter system (including Europe) in 1979. Voyager 2 found two dark brown lines on the surface of this moon, indicating cracks in the icy surface – evidence of a watery body underneath.
Europe’s oceans were confirmed by the Galileo mission, which orbited the mighty planet from 1995 to 2003.
In the video above, a look at the European water world.
The draw to explore Europe further is stimulating, and NASA plans to venture there again with the Europa Clipper, which is expected to hit the market sometime between 2023 and 2025.
“Europe is one of our best chances to find life in our solar system. NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will start in the next few years. So our work is aimed at preparing for the mission that will examine the habitability of Europe, ”continues Deswani.
The Europa Clipper brings nine instruments to the mysterious moon. The cameras include heat detectors, magnetometers and radar devices that are supposed to look under the ice.
The spacecraft is expected to make more than 40 orbits around Europe from 25 to 2,700 km (16 to 1,700 miles) above the surface of the world. When the clipper flies so close to Europe, it is exposed to massive harmful radiation. The elongated orbit minimizes exposure to the vehicle.
In addition, JUpiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), which is slated to fly sometime in the next decade, will search Europe for organic molecules, including those associated with life.
This current study is currently being discussed at the Goldschmidt Virtual Conference from June 21 to 26, 2020.
This article was originally published on The Cosmic Companion by James Maynard, founder and editor of The Cosmic Companion. He is a New England-born desert rat in Tucson, where he lives with his beautiful wife Nicole and Max the Cat. You can read this original piece here.
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