Gravity Assist: Why Icy Moons are So Juicy, with Athena Coustenis

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For decades, moons of the outer solar system have proven fascinating subjects for scientists interested in the search for life. Forty years ago this year, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by Saturn’s moon Titan and took the first close images, revealing a thick orange-colored atmosphere that is the most Earth-like in the solar system. NASA’s Cassini probe then dropped off a lander at Titan called Huygens in 2004, and studied Titan in detail during its 13 years at Saturn. Now, NASA is preparing to launch the rotorcraft mission Dragonfly to Titan in the 2020s. But Titan is just one interesting moon. The European Space Agency’s upcoming JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission will study Ganymede, Europa, and another moon of Jupiter called Callisto. Meanwhile, NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will provide complementary observations of Europa.

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