HomeAstronomyEuropa Clipper instrument delays worry scientists eyeing 2024 launch

Europa Clipper instrument delays worry scientists eyeing 2024 launch

NASA’s bold mission to explore Jupiter’s icy moon is facing tight schedules getting instruments installed and ready for the planned 2024 launch.

Europa is a particularly tantalizing destination because scientists believe that, under its icy crust, the moon hides a global ocean — and that the ocean may be the sort of place where life could survive. That’s why NASA designed its Europa Clipper mission, meant to launch in 2024, arrive at Jupiter in 2030, and fly past Europa dozens of times. Engineers are assembling the spacecraft in a clean room in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, but many of the mission’s instruments are behind schedule, starting to cause serious concerns.

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