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Gearing Up to Explore an Icy Moon: the Europa Clipper Mission
What is just a quarter the diameter of the Earth but may have twice as much water as of all the Earth’s oceans combined under an icy shell? Meet Europa – a beautiful ice-ocean moon of Jupiter that may have all of the ingredients necessary for life.
Flight Systems Engineer Tracy Drain will give you an inside peek into the mission that is in development right now, preparing to go explore this fascinating place. The Europa Clipper spacecraft will carry a suite of science instruments on a journey from the Earth out to the Jupiter system. Once there, it will execute a series of close flybys of Europa, braving the intense radiation field that surrounds Jupiter, to gather the data that will help scientists answer some long-standing questions about this world.
Tracy Drain is a Flight Systems Engineer working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In her 20 years at JPL, she has participated in the development and operation of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (a science and relay orbiter at Mars), the Kepler mission (searching for Exoplanets), the Juno mission (a science orbiter at Jupiter), and the Psyche mission (an asteroid mission slated to launch in 2022). She is now the lead Flight Systems Engineer for the Europa Clipper mission, currently planned to launch in 2024. A life-long learner, Tracy loves to encouraging people of all ages nurture their curiosity and explore the wonders that surround us every day.