Europa Clipper is a mission concept under study by NASA that would conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter's moon Europa and would investigate whether it has conditions suitable for life.
The mission name is a reference to the lightweight clipper ships of
the 19th century that routinely plied trade routes around the world.
Europa has been identified as one of the locations in the Solar System,
other than the Earth, that could possibly harbor microbial
Immediately following the Galileo spacecraft's discoveries, JPL
conducted preliminary mission studies that envisioned a capable
spacecraft such as the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (a $16B mission
concept), the Jupiter Europa Orbiter (a $4.3B concept), an orbiter ($2B
concept), and a multi-flyby spacecraft: Europa Clipper. The proposal and
scope of the Europa Clipper mission are still in the conceptual stage,
but the approximate cost is estimated at $2 billion. Meanwhile, the
European Space Agency is already developing the Jupiter Icy Moon
Explorer for a proposed launch in 2022.
In March 2013, $75 million USD were authorized to expand on the
formulation of mission activities, mature the proposed science goals,
and fund preliminary instrument development, as suggested in 2011 by the
Planetary Science Decadal Survey. In May 2014, a House bill
substantially increased Europa Clipper funding budget for the 2014
fiscal year from $15 million to $100 million. The funds would be applied
to pre-formulation work.It look like it could happen!!
The goals of the proposed Europa Clipper space probe are to explore
Europa, investigate its habitability and aid in the selection of future
landing sites. Specifically, the objectives are to study:
Ice shell and ocean: Confirm the existence, and characterize the
nature, of water within or beneath the ice, and processes of
Composition: Distribution and chemistry of key compounds and the links to ocean composition.
Geology: Characteristics and formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity.
The spacecraft, trajectory and payload are subject to change as the
design matures. The eight science instruments under consideration, with a
calculated total mass of 82.3 kg are:
Shortwave Infrared Spectrometer (SWIRS) can identify materials
exposed on Europa's surface and map their distribution, and eventually
study it with a lander.
Ice-penetrating radar (IPR) would determine the thickness of the
ice, study whether bodies of water are trapped within the ice between
the surface and the ocean below, study fracturing of the shell and help
understand how material is transported between the ocean and the
Stereo Topographical Imager (TI) to map the surface.
Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS) to elucidate the chemical structures
of molecules on the surface, and to analyze the moon's trace atmosphere
Magnetometer would characterize the magnetic field and gravity of Europa.
Langmuir probes would measure the plasma field around Europa.
Reconnaissance Camera (RC) to acquire surface images in the visible spectrum.
Thermal Imager (ThI) to map temperature at the surface.
The scientists proposing this mission are also considering deploying
from the spacecraft several miniaturized satellites of the CubeSat type,
possibly driven by xenon thrusters, to sample and analyse Europa's
plumes. Europa Clipper will relay signals from the satellites with its
high gain antenna back to Earth. With propulsion, some nanosatellites
will be capable of entering orbit around Europa. However, including
additional mass would only be possible if the Europa Clipper is launched
with the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift launch vehicle.
Europa Clipper would inherit tested technology of the Galileo and
Juno Jupiter orbiters with regards to radiation protection. Shielding
will be provided by 150 kilograms of material. To maximize its
effectiveness, the electronics will be nested in the core of the
spacecraft for additional radiation protection.
Solar power Cell get degraded as space probe goes through Jupiter's
intense magnetosphere.RTGs are the best but there are only few left.It
would take cash to make more.
This mission has not be approve let,So far they are studying it!
There are two model-Solar or RTG.