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NASA’s Europa Mission to Jupiter's Icy Moon [updated]


Waspie_Dwarf

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NASA’s Europa Probe Gets a Hotline to Earth

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The addition of a high-gain antenna will enable the agency’s Europa Clipper spacecraft – set to launch in October 2024 – to communicate with mission controllers hundreds of millions of miles away.

NASA’s Europa Clipper is designed to seek out conditions suitable for life on an ice-covered moon of Jupiter. On Aug. 14, the spacecraft received a piece of hardware central to that quest: the massive dish-shaped high-gain antenna.

Stretching 10 feet (3 meters) across the spacecraft’s body, the high-gain antenna is the largest and most prominent of a suite of antennas on Europa Clipper. The spacecraft will need it as it investigates the ice-cloaked moon that it’s named after, Europa, some 444 million miles (715 million kilometers) from Earth. A major mission goal is to learn more about the moon’s subsurface ocean, which might harbor a habitable environment.

Read More: NASA

 

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How NASA Is Protecting Europa Clipper From Space Radiation

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Engineers and technicians are seen closing the vault of NASA’s Europa Clipper in the main clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL on Oct. 7. The vault will protect the electronics of the spacecraft as it orbits Jupiter.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

To explore the mysterious ice-encrusted moon Europa, the mission will need to endure bombardment by radiation and high-energy particles surrounding Jupiter.

When NASA’s Europa Clipper begins orbiting Jupiter to investigate whether its ice-encased moon, Europa, has conditions suitable for life, the spacecraft will pass repeatedly through one of the most punishing radiation environments in our solar system.

Hardening the spacecraft against potential damage from that radiation is no easy task. But on Oct. 7, the mission put the final piece of the spacecraft’s “armor” in place when it sealed the vault, a container specially designed to shield Europa Clipper’s sophisticated electronics. The probe is being put together, piece by piece, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California ahead of its launch in October 2024.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

 

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Poised for Science: NASA’s Europa Clipper Instruments Are All Aboard

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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.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

The science performed by the complex suite of instruments recently added to the spacecraft will reveal whether Jupiter’s moon Europa has conditions that could support life.

With less than nine months remaining in the countdown to launch, NASA’s Europa Clipper mission has passed a major milestone: Its science instruments have been added to the massive spacecraft, which is being assembled at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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  • The title was changed to Assembly of NASA’s Europa Probe [updated]

Europa Clipper Solar Arrays Arrive at NASA for Jupiter Moon Mission

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The transport carrier containing the five-panel solar arrays for NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft arrives at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/ Ben Smegelsky

NASA’s mission to study Jupiter’s icy moon Europa completed another milestone as power supply hardware for the Europa Clipper spacecraft arrived on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Workers unloaded the five-panel solar arrays at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. The solar arrays will attach to the spacecraft to power it on the 1.8-billion-mile journey to Europa. Strong evidence shows an ocean beneath Europa’s crust that is twice the volume of all the Earth’s oceans combined, and scientists want to determine if any areas can support life.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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NASA’s Europa Clipper Solar Arrays Successfully Deploy at Kennedy Space Center

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Technicians working inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida unfolded and fully extended the first of two five-panel solar arrays built for NASA’s Europa Clipper in preparation for inspection and cleaning as part of assembly, test, and launch operations.

On March 6, technicians working inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida unfolded and fully extended the first of two five-panel solar arrays for the agency’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. Each solar array measures 46.5 feet in length.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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  • The title was changed to NASA’s Europa Mission to Jupiter's Icy Moon [updated]

NASA’s Europa Clipper Survives and Thrives in ‘Outer Space’ on Earth

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Europa Clipper is seen in the 25-Foot Space Simulator at JPL in February, before the start of thermal vacuum testing. A battery of tests ensures that the NASA spacecraft can withstand the extreme hot, cold, and airless environment of space.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

A gantlet of tests prepared the spacecraft for its challenging trip to the Jupiter system, where it will explore the icy moon Europa and its subsurface ocean.

In less than six months, NASA is set to launch Europa Clipper on a 1.6-billion-mile (2.6-billion-kilometer) voyage to Jupiter’s ocean moon Europa. From the wild vibrations of the rocket ride to the intense heat and cold of space to the punishing radiation of Jupiter, it will be a journey of extremes. The spacecraft was recently put through a series of hard-core tests at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California to ensure it’s up to the challenge.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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NASA’s Europa Clipper Makes Cross Country Flight to Florida

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Technicians offload NASA’s largest planetary mission spacecraft, Europa Clipper, from a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, May 23, 2024. Crews will prepare it for launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the Florida spaceport, targeting liftoff in October. Europa Clipper will help determine if life-sustaining conditions exist below the surface of Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa. Photo credit: NASA/Isaac Watson

NASA’s Europa Clipper, a spacecraft designed to investigate Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and its potential to support life, arrived in Florida on May 23. The spacecraft, assembled at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, landed aboard a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The mission aims to gather detailed measurements of the moon’s surface, interior, and space environment by performing approximately 50 close flybys, some as low as 16 miles from the surface of Europa, which holds a global ocean underneath its ice shell.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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NASA’s Europa Clipper Unpacks in Florida

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Technicians inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida prepare to rotate the agency’s largest planetary mission spacecraft, Europa Clipper, to a vertical position on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, as part of prelaunch processing.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Crews rotated to vertical then lifted NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft from its protective shipping container after it arrived at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 28.

The spacecraft, which will collect data to help scientists determine if Jupiter’s icy moon Europa could support life, arrived in a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane at Kennedy’s Launch and Landing Facility on May 23.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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NASA Examines Electrical Switches on Europa Clipper Spacecraft

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As NASA’s Europa Clipper continues preparations in advance of its launch period — opening Oct. 10 — the mission team is assessing whether transistors on the spacecraft can withstand the intense radiation the probe will encounter at Jupiter.

These transistors are used as electrical switches in many digital electronics. The particular versions used by Europa Clipper are radiation-hardened and are intended to tolerate 100 to 300 kilorad, or krad (a “rad” is a unit of measure for absorbed dose of ionizing radiation).

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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NASA Installs High Gain Antenna for Mission to Study Icy Moon of Jupiter

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Technicians prepare to install the nearly 10 feet (3 meters) wide dish-shaped high-gain antenna to NASA’s Europa Clipper, a spacecraft to study Jupiter’s icy moon, at the agency’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, June 17, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

When NASA’s Europa Clipper is in orbit around Jupiter, transmitting science data and receiving commands from Earth across hundreds of millions of miles, it will need a powerful antenna. Technicians installed the spacecraft’s high-gain antenna inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 17.

Scheduled to launch later this year, Europa Clipper will embark on a 1.8-billion-mile (2.6-billion-kilometer) journey to Jupiter. It is the largest spacecraft NASA has developed for a planetary mission. Set to arrive in April 2030, it will study the gas giant’s icy moon, Europa, to determine its potential to support life.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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NASA Continues Assessing Electrical Switches on Europa Clipper

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Launch preparations are progressing with NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. The spacecraft arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May, where the team recently attached the high-gain antenna.

Engineers with NASA’s Europa Clipper mission continue to conduct extensive testing of transistors that help control the flow of electricity on the spacecraft. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages the mission, began the tests after learning that some of these parts may not withstand the radiation of the Jupiter system, which is the most intense radiation environment in the solar system.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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