Science/Tech

NASA's Europa Mission Inches A Bit Closer To Launch

By finally being given the green light, a NASA mission to visit and explore arguably the most famous of Jupiter’s 79 moons that’s currently in development has now inched so much closer to reaching its goal.

Sure, the process to piece together the mission is still ongoing, but the fact that it’s given the all-clear to enter the final stages of development means that we might be seeing Europa up close more sooner than later.

Per scientists, Jupiter’s moon Europa has long been considered as having the possibility of exhibiting alien life, be it in whatever form. Just slightly smaller than our own Moon, evidence suggests that Europa’s thick and icy crust hides an ocean underneath, one that could be tens of miles deep. Per scientists, this underwater ocean may be teeming with complicated life forms, or at the very least, some type of living organisms.

Furthermore, scientists believe that the moon itself has the necessary conditions to start life of its own. For one thing, it has water. Evidence also suggests of a possible chemistry as well as energy made from tidal heating, which happens due to gravitational tugs that are acting on the Moon (the same phenomenal happens to our oceans and our own Moon). According to scientists, this could both aid the movement of chemical substances in the surface and drive the reactions from these chemicals.

Although still not final, scientists proposed that the NASA mission should do a series of close flybys since it cannot orbit Europa due to the radiation belt provided by Jupiter itself. Appropriately named as the Europa Clipper, it would then be carrying cameras and instruments that it will be using to study the moon’s own magnetic field.

The same instruments will also be used to find subsurface lakes, as well as measure how thick Europa’s icy crust is.

“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,” Thomas Zurbuchen, an associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa’s headquarters in Washington, said.

solar system As the Sun ages, scientists predict it may soon run out of fuel and start to expand. Pixabay

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