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Send your name to Jupiter's icy moon, via NASA's Europa Clipper

The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa looms large in this reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. A new mission set to launch October 2024 will revisit this moon and peer beneath its surface at an ocean, looking at how habitable that subsurface sea might be.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa looms large in this reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. A new mission set to launch October 2024 will revisit this moon and peer beneath its surface at an ocean, looking at how habitable that subsurface sea might be.

NASA is inviting the public on a mission to Jupiter’s icy moon — Europa. Along with a suite of scientific instruments, Europa Clipper will bring the names of supporters of the mission along for the ride when it launches from Kennedy Space Center next year.

The spacecraft is exploring the moon of Jupiter, peering below its icy shell, which scientists are almost certain contains water. This mission will peek beneath that icy crust and collect data, helping scientsits better understand the conditions of this ocean — and whether or not it could support life.

The spacecraft is engraved with a poem written by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa” links the moon and Earth through its shared water, and potential to answer one of science's greatest questions: Are we alone? The campaign is a special collaboration between NASA, the U.S. Poet Laureate, and the Library of Congress.

NASA is inviting the public to sign that poem. So far more than 800,000 people from around the world have added their names to NASA’s Message in a Bottle campaign. The poem and names will be etched into a silicon microchip — each line of text is smaller than 1/1000th the width of a human hair.

A tantalum metal vault plate on the Europa Clipper spacecraft will be engraved with “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa” by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. This graphic illustrates the location of the vault plate, seen here as a golden triangle, on the Europa Clipper spacecraft.
NASA/JPL-Caltech
A tantalum metal vault plate on the Europa Clipper spacecraft will be engraved with “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa” by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. This graphic illustrates the location of the vault plate, seen here as a golden triangle, on the Europa Clipper spacecraft.

Europa Clipper will launch from Kennedy Space Center October 2024. After traveling 1.8 billion miles, it will arrive at Jupiter’s moon in 2030.

NASA has invited the public on other missions like this. The most recent Mars rover took with it 11 million names etched on a placard that is now on the red planet.

Copyright 2023 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Brendan Byrne
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