NASA confirms mission to Jupiter's icy moon

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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- NASA has given the official go-ahead for the Europa Clipper mission to conduct an in-depth exploration of Jupiter's moon Europa, said an official release on Monday.

The decision allows the deep-space mission to complete its final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire spacecraft and science payload, the release said.

"We are all excited about the decision that moves the Europa Clipper mission one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

"We are building upon the scientific insights received from the flagship Galileo and Cassini spacecraft and working to advance our understanding of our cosmic origin, and even life elsewhere," Zurbuchen said.

NASA's Europa Clipper will make a detailed survey of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, and investigate whether the icy moon harbors conditions suitable for life, honing insights into astrobiology, according to the release.

To develop this mission in the most cost-effective fashion, NASA is targeting to have the Europa Clipper spacecraft complete and ready for launch as early as 2023. The agency baseline commitment, however, supports a launch readiness date by 2025.

[ Editor: Shi Ruoqi ]