BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:
Its frozen shell is encrusted with a layer of white and orange ice. The endless twisting and pulling of Jupiter’s gravity leaves a surface crisscrossed by deep valleys, ridges, and not yet fully understood “chaos zones” of deep tectonic activity. Its immense dark oceans, heated by underwater volcanoes, are hidden by this icy surface — that is, except for when it explodes outwards in titanic geysers, shooting plumes of liquid water hundreds of miles into space.
No, this isn’t science fiction — this is Europa, the hauntingly beautiful yet bizarre ocean moon of Jupiter. Scientists have called Europa “the most likely place to find extraterrestrial life in our solar systems.” As such, it is the target of one of NASA’s most exciting upcoming missions; a mission now one step closer to happening thanks to privatization.
Enter the Clipper
The Europa Clipper, named after the sailing ships from the Age of Exploration, is set to journey to this ocean world within the next three years. The nimble spacecraft will be launched into orbit around Jupiter and make nearly 50 close flybys of the moon.
On each of these trips, spectrometers, cameras, and radar will be used to scour the moon’s …
END ARTICLE PREVIEW