Back in this post, we celebrated the landing of NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover launch and landing. NASA created a program by which the names of individuals here on Earth could be etched on a chip and sent to Mars as part of Perseverance. We submitted the names of the folks in the household and now our four names are among 1.2 million of our closest friends’ names on Mars.
NASA is at it again with their Europa Clipper mission scheduled for launch in October, 2024. Since I egregiously failed to include my sons, Jonathon and Andrew Wolfe in the previous mission, I made sure to not just add these fine gentlemen to the list of names destined for Europa, but gave them top billing in the gallery below.
From NASA’s website, “[The Europa Clipper’s] three main science objectives are to understand the nature of the ice shell and the ocean beneath it, along with the moon’s composition and geology. The mission’s detailed exploration of Europa will help scientists better understand the astrobiological potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet.
“NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will perform dozens of close flybys of Jupiter’s moon Europa, gathering detailed measurements to investigate the moon. The spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter, will make nearly 50 flybys of Europa at closest-approach altitudes as low as 16 miles (25 kilometers) above the surface, soaring over a different location during each flyby to scan nearly the entire moon.
“Europa shows strong evidence for an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust. Beyond Earth, Europa is considered one of the most promising places where we might find currently habitable environments in our solar system. Europa Clipper will determine whether there are places below Europa’s surface that could support life.“
It will be an honor to accompany the Europa Clipper to the outer reaches of our Solar System. It will be an even greater honor to be with the family for all time one more time.