NASA’s Europa Clipper Gets Its Wheels for Traveling in Deep Space

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Installing the wheels was one of the most recent steps of the phase known as assembly, test, and launch operations. Science instruments continue to arrive at JPL to be added to the spacecraft. Next, a variety of tests will be conducted, as the spacecraft moves toward its October 2024 launch period. After traveling over 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion kilometers), Europa Clipper will be set to begin unlocking the secrets of this icy world.

More About the Mission

Missions such as Europa Clipper contribute to the field of astrobiology, the interdisciplinary research field that studies the conditions of distant worlds that could harbor life as we know it. While Europa Clipper is not a life-detection mission, it will conduct a detailed exploration of Europa and investigate whether the icy moon, with its subsurface ocean, has the capability to support life. Understanding Europa’s habitability will help scientists better understand how life developed on Earth and the potential for finding life beyond our planet.

Managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California, JPL leads the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. APL designed the main spacecraft body in collaboration with JPL and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, executes program management of the Europa Clipper mission.

More information about Europa can be found here:

europa.nasa.gov

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