NASA Selects Spacex for Mission to Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa.
NASA has granted Elon Musk’s commercial rocket business SpaceX a $178 million launch services contract for the organization’s first mission, which will focus on Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa and if it may host conditions favourable for life, according to NASA.
Leading space research organization in the world NASA has chosen Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a wealthy tech entrepreneur, to send a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, which has liquid seas that may support life.
The mission was originally scheduled to launch on Nasa’s own Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which has been beset by delays in construction projects, prompting opponents to label it a “jobs programme” for Alabama, where much of the project activities is taking place.
Europa Clipper is a mission that will fly by Jupiter’s moon Europa 45 times, coming as near as 16 miles above the surface each time. Scientists believe that underneath the moon’s ice surface is a vast ocean where extra-terrestrial life may thrive. NASA selected a date for the mission and granted the $178 million launch contract to SpaceX on Friday. In October 2024, the Europa Clipper is set to launch atop SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
Last year, NASA astronauts were transported to the International Space Station by SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Since the termination of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011, was the first moment the US has flown its crew. SpaceX is currently transporting people to and from the International Space Station on a constant schedule. NASA gave SpaceX a contract to convert its Star ship mega-rocket into a lunar lander in April. Star ship is expected to put astronauts on the moon in 2024, according to the agency (though that timeline may be unrealistic). Since the Apollo missions concluded in 1972, this would be the first manned landing on the moon.
In 2019, the company’s partially reusable 23-story Falcon Heavy launched its first commercial cargo into orbit, making it the world’s most powerful operational space flight vehicle.
The major goal of the Europa Clipper is to see if Europa is capable of supporting life. Its goals include taking high-resolution pictures of the moon’s surface, determining the composition and thickness of the moon’s ice crust, searching for lakes beneath the surface, and measuring the depth and salinity of the ocean below.
The moon of Jupiter is roughly 630 million kilometers away from Earth. It is estimated that the voyage would take more than five years. The probe will complete 40 to 50 orbits around Europa.
Both Clipper and the future lander were supposed to be launched on the Space Carry System (SLS), the massive rocket that NASA is constructing to release people and spacecraft to profound locations.
NASA’s latest show of support is the Hawthorne, California-based firm, which has recently transported multiple cargo payloads and people to the International Space Station for NASA.