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A highly anticipated NASA mission to Jupiter's possibly life-supporting moon Europa remains on track for a mid-2020s launch.
NASA has cleared the Europa Clipper mission to proceed through the final-design phase and then into spacecraft construction and testing, agency officials announced yesterday (Aug. 19).
Decision - Europa - Clipper - Mission - Step
"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," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.
"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," Zurbuchen said, referring to NASA probes that orbited Jupiter and Saturn, respectively.
Kilometers - Europa - Ocean - Water - Beneath
The 1,940-mile-wide (3,120 kilometers) Europa harbors a huge ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell. This water is in contact with the moon's rocky core, scientists believe, making possible a range of interesting chemical...
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