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Topic: NASA’s Europa Clipper

NASA’s Europa Clipper begins Assembly

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Europa Clipper, NASA’s upcoming flagship mission to the outer solar system, has passed a significant milestone, completing its Critical Design Review. During the review, experts examined the detailed design of the spacecraft to ensure that it is ready to complete construction.

The mission is now able to complete hardware fabrication and testing, and move toward the assembly and testing of the spacecraft and its payload of sophisticated science instruments.

NASA's Europa Clipper, depicted in this illustration that was updated in December 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Europa Clipper, depicted in this illustration that was updated in December 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft gets Mission Extended

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has authorized a mission extension for its Juno spacecraft exploring Jupiter. The agency’s most distant planetary orbiter will now continue its investigation of the solar system’s largest planet through September 2025, or until the spacecraft’s end of life.

This expansion tasks Juno with becoming an explorer of the full Jovian system – Jupiter and its rings and moons – with multiple rendezvous planned for three of Jupiter’s most intriguing Galilean moons: Ganymede, Europa, and Io.

This view of Jupiter's atmosphere from NASA's Juno spacecraft includes something remarkable, two storms caught in the act of merging. (Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSImage processing by Tanya Oleksuik, © CC)

This view of Jupiter’s atmosphere from NASA’s Juno spacecraft includes something remarkable, two storms caught in the act of merging. (Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSImage processing by Tanya Oleksuik, © CC)

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NASA model suggests Europa’s Plumes of Water Vapor could come from within it’s Icy Crust

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Plumes of water vapor that may be venting into space from Jupiter’s moon Europa could come from within the icy crust itself, according to new research. A model outlines a process for brine, or salt-enriched water, moving around within the moon’s shell and eventually forming pockets of water – even more concentrated with salt – that could erupt.

Europa scientists have considered the possible plumes on Europa a promising way to investigate the habitability of Jupiter’s icy moon, especially since they offer the opportunity to be directly sampled by spacecraft flying through them.

This illustration of Jupiter's icy moon Europa depicts a cryovolcanic eruption in which brine from within the icy shell could blast into space. A new model proposing this process may also shed light on plumes on other icy bodies. (Justice Wainwright)

This illustration of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa depicts a cryovolcanic eruption in which brine from within the icy shell could blast into space. A new model proposing this process may also shed light on plumes on other icy bodies. (Justice Wainwright)

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NASA research shows Radiation gives Jupiter’s Moon Europa a Glow

 

Pasadena, CA – NASA says aNASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administrations the icy, ocean-filled moon Europa orbits Jupiter, it withstands a relentless pummeling of radiation. Jupiter zaps Europa’s surface night and day with electrons and other particles, bathing it in high-energy radiation. But as these particles pound the moon’s surface, they may also be doing something otherworldly: making Europa glow in the dark.

New research from scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California details for the first time what the glow would look like, and what it could reveal about the composition of ice on Europa’s surface.

This illustration of Jupiter's moon Europa shows how the icy surface may glow on its nightside, the side facing away from the Sun. Variations in the glow and the color of the glow itself could reveal information about the composition of ice on Europa's surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration of Jupiter’s moon Europa shows how the icy surface may glow on its nightside, the side facing away from the Sun. Variations in the glow and the color of the glow itself could reveal information about the composition of ice on Europa’s surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Galileo Spacecraft reprocessed Images show terrain detail of Jupiter’s moon Europa

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa features a widely varied landscape, including ridges, bands, small rounded domes and disrupted spaces that geologists call “chaos terrain.” Three newly reprocessed images, taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s, reveal details in diverse surface features on Europa.

Although the data captured by Galileo is more than two decades old, scientists are using modern image processing techniques to create new views of the moon’s surface in preparation for the arrival of the Europa Clipper spacecraft.

In this gallery of three newly reprocessed Europa images, details are visible in the variety of features on the moon's icy surface. This image of an area called Chaos Transition shows blocks that have moved and ridges possibly related to how the crust fractures from the force of Jupiter's gravity. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

In this gallery of three newly reprocessed Europa images, details are visible in the variety of features on the moon’s icy surface. This image of an area called Chaos Transition shows blocks that have moved and ridges possibly related to how the crust fractures from the force of Jupiter’s gravity. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

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NASA Scientists simulating Ocean Vents find evidence these features could have start Life

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Where did life first form on Earth? Some scientists think it could have been around hydrothermal vents that may have existed at the bottom of the ocean 4.5 billion years ago.

In a new paper in the journal Astrobiology, NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory describe how they mimicked possible ancient undersea environments with a complex experimental setup.

They showed that under extreme pressure, fluid from these ancient seafloor cracks mixed with ocean water could have reacted with minerals from the hydrothermal vents to produce organic molecules – the building blocks that compose nearly all life on Earth.

A seafloor vent called a "white smoker" spews mineral-rich water into the ocean and serves as an energy hub for living creatures. Some scientists think life on Earth may have begun around similar vents on the ocean floor billions of years ago. (NOAA/C. German (WHOI))

A seafloor vent called a “white smoker” spews mineral-rich water into the ocean and serves as an energy hub for living creatures. Some scientists think life on Earth may have begun around similar vents on the ocean floor billions of years ago. (NOAA/C. German (WHOI))

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NASA Statement on Moon to Mars Initiative, President Donald Trump’s FY 2021 Budget

 

Jim Bridenstine addresses NASA’s ambitious plans for the coming years, including Mars Sample Return.

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – “President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget for NASA is worthy of 21st century exploration and discovery. The President’s budget invests more than $25 billion in NASA to fortify our innovative human space exploration program while maintaining strong support for our agency’s full suite of science, aeronautics and technology work.

“The budget proposed represents a 12% increase and makes this one of the strongest budgets in NASA history. The reinforced support from the President comes at a critical time as we lay the foundations for landing the first woman and the next man on the South Pole of the Moon by 2024. This budget keeps us firmly on that path.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine delivers the State of NASA address from NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Feb. 10, 2020. (NASA)

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine delivers the State of NASA address from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Feb. 10, 2020. (NASA)

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NASA’s BRUIE Robotic Submersible tested under Sea Ice

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s little robotic explorer will be rolling into Antarctica this month to perform a gymnastic feat – driving upside down under sea ice.

BRUIE, or the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration, is being developed for underwater exploration in extraterrestrial, icy waters by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It will spend the next month testing its endurance at Australia’s Casey research station in Antarctica, in preparation for a mission that could one day search for life in ocean worlds beyond Earth.  

An underwater rover called BRUIE is being tested in Antarctica to look for life under the ice. Developed by engineers at NASA-JPL, the robotic submersible could one day explore ice-covered oceans on moons like Europa and Enceladus. BRUIE is pictured here in an arctic lake near Barrow, Alaska in 2015. (NASA)

An underwater rover called BRUIE is being tested in Antarctica to look for life under the ice. Developed by engineers at NASA-JPL, the robotic submersible could one day explore ice-covered oceans on moons like Europa and Enceladus. BRUIE is pictured here in an arctic lake near Barrow, Alaska in 2015. (NASA)

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NASA confirms mission to Jupiter’s Moon, Europa

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has announced the mission to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa is a go.

An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission’s next phase. The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire spacecraft and science payload.

A 2016 artist's concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The design is changing as the spacecraft is developed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A 2016 artist’s concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The design is changing as the spacecraft is developed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Europa Clipper Spacecraft’s high-gain antenna undergoes testing

 

Written by Joe Atkinson
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – NASA says it probably goes without saying, but this isn’t your everyday satellite dish.

In fact, it’s not a satellite dish at all. It’s a high-gain antenna (HGA), and a future version of it will send and receive signals to and from Earth from a looping orbit around Jupiter.

The antenna will take that long journey aboard NASA’s Europa Clipper, a spacecraft that will conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter’s moon Europa to see whether the icy orb could harbor conditions suitable for life. Scientists believe there’s a massive salty ocean beneath Europa’s icy surface. The antenna will beam back high-resolution images and scientific data from Europa Clipper’s cameras and science instruments.

A full-scale prototype of the high-gain antenna on NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft is undergoing testing in the Experimental Test Range at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. (NASA/Langley)

A full-scale prototype of the high-gain antenna on NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft is undergoing testing in the Experimental Test Range at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. (NASA/Langley)

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