The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch NASA’s long-awaited mission to Europe, Jupiter’s ice moon that may have living conditions. The agency has been planning to send a probe to Jovi’s moon for years and has completed its plans in 2019 announcement, NASA said Europa Clipper The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in October 2024 on top of a Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center launch complex 39A. He also revealed that the contract will cost the agency approximately $ 178 million – which is advantageous compared to what it would cost to launch a mission on top of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.
As Ars Technica notes, Congress originally called on NASA to use the SLS to launch the Europa Clipper. At the time, however, the White House estimated one SLS launch would cost a whopping $ 2 billion. Far from ideal, especially since SLS would need gravitational help from Venus and travel further so it could achieve its goal, while Falcon Heavy would not. In addition, NASA told Ars that the SLS will need additional modifications worth $ 1 billion to be able to carry out the mission.
If the Europa Clipper launches in October 2024 as planned, it will reach Jupiter’s orbit in April 2030. The probe will then investigate whether the ice moon really has conditions suitable for life. It will record “high-resolution images of Europe’s surface, determine its composition, look for signs of recent or current geological activity, measure the thickness of the moon’s ice sheet, search for underground lakes, and determine the depth and salinity of the European ocean.”
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