Home » NASA will launch a Europa probe to search for an environment suitable for life | Technology | Central News Agency CNA

NASA will launch a Europa probe to search for an environment suitable for life | Technology | Central News Agency CNA

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NASA will launch a Europa probe to search for an environment suitable for life | Technology | Central News Agency CNA

NASA’s “Clipper” spacecraft set to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa in search of extraterrestrial life

Pasadena, California – In a groundbreaking mission that could potentially change our understanding of life in the universe, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced plans to send the spacecraft “Clipper” to Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The mission, set to launch in October, will mark the first time mankind has explored this icy moon, which is believed to have conditions that could support life. Europa, one of Jupiter’s many moons, is considered to be the closest place to Earth where life may exist.

NASA scientists are hopeful that the Clipper mission will provide valuable insights into the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Bob Pappalardo, the project scientist for the mission, stated, “If we find an environment that allows life to exist, and then naively find life in a place like Europa, that would mean that in our solar system, there are two places where life exists, Earth and Europa… This is important for understanding how common life may be throughout the universe.”

The Clipper spacecraft, which has a budget of US$5 billion (approximately NT$162.45 billion), is currently undergoing final preparations at NASA’s “Jet Propulsion Laboratory” in California. The spacecraft will be launched into space on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle and is expected to arrive in orbit around Jupiter and Europa in 2031.

Scientists involved in the mission will be equipped with a range of instruments to study Europa in detail, including cameras, spectrometers, magnetometers, radars, and other tools. The goal is to understand the composition of Europa’s icy surface and to determine if there are conditions that could support life.

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While the mission managers are not expecting to find “little green men” swimming in the water on Europa, they are hopeful that the environment could provide clues about the potential for life to exist beyond Earth. Jordan Evans, the project manager for the Europa Clipper mission, commented, “If those moons around planets that are very far away from their stars can support life, then I think there is a chance that life can develop everywhere in the solar system and everywhere in the universe. It will increase significantly.”

The Europa Clipper mission represents a significant step forward in humanity’s quest to understand the possibility of life beyond Earth. As the spacecraft prepares for its journey to Europa, scientists and space enthusiasts alike are eager to see what discoveries lie ahead.

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