NASA’s Juno probe will peer beneath the icy crust of Europa

On Sept. 29, NASA’s Juno probe will perform the closest flyby of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa in over 20 years as the spacecraft embarks on a mission to deep probe into Europa’s ice in search of pockets of liquid water.

Europe contains a global ocean beneath a solid crust of ice, making this moon one of the most intriguing places in the solar system to search for extraterrestrial life and one of astrobiologists’ top priorities. Although Juno won’t be able to tell us whether Europa harbors alien life, it will teach us more about the moon’s icy crust, such as how thick it is and there are any subsurface pockets of liquid water that could reach the surface.

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