Europa Clipper Spacecraft (Illustration)
This illustration, updated in December 2020, depicts NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft. With an internal global ocean twice the size of Earth's oceans combined, Jupiter's moon Europa may have the potential to harbor life. The Europa Clipper orbiter will swoop around Jupiter on an elliptical path, dipping close to the moon on each flyby to collect data. The mission will gather measurements of the internal ocean, map the surface geology and composition, and hunt for plumes of water vapor that may be venting from the icy crust.
Understanding Europa's habitability will help scientists better understand how life developed on Earth and the potential for finding life beyond our planet. Europa Clipper is aiming for a launch readiness date of 2024.
More information about Europa and Europa Clipper can be found here: europa.nasa.gov.