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NASA Selects SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket For Mission To Jupiter's Icy Moon Europa

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on July 23, announced that it has selected SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket for a mission to Europa


IMAGE: @SpaceX/Twitter

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on July 23, Friday announced that it has selected SpaceX spacecraft Falcon Heavy Rocket for a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. NASA Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen took to Twitter to announce that NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for Earth’s first mission to conduct detailed investigations of Jupiter's moon Europa, said a release by the space research centre. The Europa Clipper mission will launch in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the announcement added.

The Europa Clipper mission

Europa Clipper will conduct a detailed survey of the icy Jupiter moon Europa and use a sophisticated suite of science instruments to investigate whether the moon has conditions suitable for life. Stating the key missions of the objective the space administration said, "Key mission objectives are to produce high-resolution images of Europa's surface, determine its composition, look for signs of recent or ongoing geological activity, measure the thickness of the moon’s icy shell, search for subsurface lakes, and determine the depth and salinity of Europa's ocean." The Europa clipper orbiter will make about 40 to 50 close passes over Europa to determine whether the icy moon could harbour conditions suitable for life. Its payload computer will include high-resolution cameras and spectrometers to produce spectacular images and compositional maps of surface and atmosphere, as well as radar to penetrate the ice layer to search for liquid water below. The total contract award amount for launch services is approximately $178 million.

Elon Musk sets deeper into space

Space X CEO Elon Musk retweeted the news of the contracts and took to Twitter to spread the word. Meanwhile, NASA mentioned that the Launch Services Program at Kennedy will manage the Europa Clipper launch service. Providing additional details about the jet laboratory NASA said, "NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California leads the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington." The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, executes program management of the Europa Clipper mission.

(Input: @NASA and @ElonMusk/Twitter)

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