SpaceX will probe Jupiter’s icy moon for signs of life

Published:

24 July 2021 06:27 GMT

The launch contract for the Europa Clipper mission on the Falcon Heavy rocket was awarded for $178 million.

NASA has selected Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, to launch the first mission that seeks to find out whether the icy moon of Jupiter, Europa, has the right conditions to host life. Reported US space agency this Friday.

The contract for a mission called Europa Clipper, which has been set October 2024, was awarded to a value of $178 million and assumes that a Falcon Heavy rocket from SpaceX is in charge of launching scientific investigations from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Jupiter’s moon is about 630 million kilometers from Earth, and the journey is estimated to take more than five years. due to the presence of a vast ocean of liquid water Beneath its icy cover, Europa is considered one of the main candidates for supporting life in our solar system.

Clipper’s goals include obtaining high-resolution images of Europa’s surface, determining its composition, looking for signs of geological activity, measuring the thickness of its ice sheet, and determining its ocean depth and salinity. .

NASA was originally scheduled to use its Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket to launch, although its development has been plagued by delays and cost escalation over the years, and its efforts are now underway. focused on the program. lunar exploration artemis, pick up Portal SPACE.com.

Musk’s California-based company has become one of NASA’s favorite contractors in recent years Cargo and crew transport to the International Space Station. In April, NASA Given A million-dollar contract to SpaceX to develop the Artemis program’s Moon landing module, but the agency suspended the deal after legal challenges from SpaceX’s rivals, including Blue Origin.

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