A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will be launching NASA’s long-awaited mission to Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon which will have the situations to help life. The company has been planning to ship a probe to the Jovian moon for years and finalized its plans in 2019. In its announcement, NASA mentioned the Europa Clipper spacecraft is scheduled to launch in October 2024 on prime of a Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. It has additionally revealed that the contract will value the company roughly $178 million — a cut price, in contrast to what it will’ve value to launch the mission on prime of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.
As Ars Technica notes, Congress initially urged NASA to use the SLS to launch the Europa Clipper. At the time, although, the White House estimated a single SLS launch to value a whopping $2 billion. Far from ultimate, particularly because the SLS would want gravity help from Venus and journey farther to have the option to attain its purpose, whereas the Falcon Heavy would not. In addition, NASA instructed Ars that the SLS would want $1 billion price of extra modifications to have the option to full the mission.
If Europa Clipper launches in October 2024 as deliberate, it will attain Jupiter’s orbit in April 2030. The probe will then examine whether or not the icy moon really has situations appropriate for all times. It’ll seize “high-resolution images of Europa’s surface, determine its composition, look for signs of recent or ongoing geological activity, measure the thickness of the moon’s icy shell, search for subsurface lakes, and determine the depth and salinity of Europa’s ocean.”
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