NASA has finally completed the body of its largest ever spacecraft built for planetary missions. Europa Clipper will be launched into space in 2024 and its mission will be to hunt alien life on Jupiter’s Moon.
The idea of extraterrestrial life excites everyone and NASA is no exception. Recently, it was revealed that the American space agency is setting up an independent commission to study the existence of Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs. But to make things more interesting, NASA is also planning a mission to a celestial body within our own solar system where it believes that alien life can actually exist. And that body is none other than one of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, Europa. And taking on this mission will be NASA’s largest ever spacecraft ever developed for planetary missions – Europa Clipper. The mission is set for October 2024 and scientists have high hopes for it. Also read: NASA: Hubble Telescope reveals unknown facts about this LARGEST Comet!
According to NASA’s mission website, this also creates multiple milestones for the space agency. The website explains, “Europa Clipper will be only the third spacecraft to orbit the largest planet in our solar system, and the second spacecraft to run on solar power at Jupiter’s distance from the Sun. It will also be the first NASA mission to exclusively study a moon other than Earth’s Moon”.
NASA to venture towards Jupiter’s moon in search for alien life
Europa Clipper is a cylindrical spacecraft which is 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide and will be as large as an SUV. But it will weigh around 6,000 kilograms and 65% of its weight will be just the fuel. That is to be expected from a spacecraft that will take on a journey of around 2.9 billion kilometers long which will take it around 6 years to complete. The fuel will probably not last that long, and that’s why it also has solar panels which are 100-feet wide. For reference, it’s larger than a basketball court. With the main body being completed, now only instrument fitting and various tests remain. Also read: RARE view of solar storm is stunning! It’s so massive, makes Earth look tiny
“It’s an exciting time for the whole project team and a huge milestone,” said Jordan Evans, the mission’s project manager at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “This delivery brings us one step closer to launch and the Europa Clipper science investigation.”
But there is another question. Why Europa? Scientists believe that Europa has all the three ingredients that can make life possible. First is water. According to NASA’s prediction, Europa, which is 90% of the size of the Earth’s Moon, contains more water than all the Earth’s oceans combined. It is also predicted that the Moon might have elements like Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Sulfur, which are the key ingredients for life.
Final ingredient for alien life to exist requires energy. While Europa is so far away from the Sun that solar energy might not be enough for the Moon to sustain life, it gets its energy from Jupiter itself. The strong gravity of Jupiter creates tides on Europa that stretch and tug the Moon generating heat. So, if there is any planet or celestial object where life could exist, it is on Europa.