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NASA's mission to search for life on one of Jupiter's ocean moons is finally moving forward.
The mission, called Europa Clipper, has gotten the go-ahead from NASA, allowing it to begin its final design phase and the subsequent construction and testing of both the spacecraft and its payload.
NASA - Spacecraft
NASA says it's aiming to have the spacecraft deployed by 2025, but it could be ready as soon as 2023.
'We are all excited about the decision that moves the Europa Clipper mission one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world,' said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.
'We - Insights - Flagship - Galileo - Cassini
'We are building upon the scientific insights received from the flagship Galileo and Cassini spacecraft and working to advance our understanding of our cosmic origin, and even life elsewhere.'
Once launched, Europa Clipper will make its way to one of Jupiter's 79 moons called Europa, where it will conduct a host of experiments designed to test the watery planet's capacity to harbor life.
Europa - NASA - Spot - Life - Number
Europa has been pegged by NASA as one potential hot spot for life due to a number of factors, including its tidal forces.
The gravitational effects of Jupiter create tides and heat which keep water on the otherwise icy planet from freezing.
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