Goals: Europa Clipper is a concept under study by NASA that would conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter's moon Europa and would investigate whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life. The mission would perform a detailed investigation of Europa using a highly capable, radiation-tolerant spacecraft that would perform repeated close flybys of the icy moon from a long, looping orbit around Jupiter.
The possible payload of science instruments under consideration includes radar to penetrate the frozen crust and determine the thickness of the ice shell, an infrared spectrometer to investigate the composition of Europa's surface materials, a topographic camera for high-resolution imaging of surface features, and an ion and neutral mass spectrometer to analyze the moon's trace atmosphere during flybys.
The nominal Europa Clipper mission would perform 45 flybys of Europa at altitudes varying from 2700 km to 25 km.
Accomplishments: This mission is a concept being considered for further development.