NASA plan trip to Jupiter

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NASA scientists have announced plans for a mission to Europa – one of the moons of Jupiter.

The mission’s main goal would be to travel to Europa in search of life in the oceans that exist under the moon’s thick layer of ice.

NASA believe a probe could be ready in 2021. However, the real difficulty is the length of the trip which they estimate will take almost six years for the probe to arrive.

It’s wouldn’t be cheap either – scientists say it could cost $2.6 billion.

At the moment NASA are still concentrating on exploring Mars.

Last week NASA’s Curiosity rover drilled its first hole into the planet’s surface to begin an examination of the soil.


  • Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar system. It is so big that more than 1300 Earths could fit inside it.
  • Thick, colorful clouds of deadly poisonous gases surround Jupiter. The quick spinning of the planet whips up the atmosphere, creating the bands around the planet.
  • If you were to descend into Jupiter, the thin, cold atmosphere becomes thicker and hotter, gradually turning into a thick, dark fog. In the blackness about 1000km down the pressure squeezes the atmosphere so hard that it becomes like liquid.
  • At the centre of Jupiter is a rocky core, slightly bigger than Earth but weighing about 20 times more.
  • Surrounding the core is an ocean of liquid hydrogen, about 1,000 kilometres deep.
  • Jupiter has many storms raging on the surface, most notably the big red spot which is the largest hurricane in our Solar System. It’s been raging for over three hundred years.
  • Jupiter has a very strong magnetic field, you would weigh two and a half times as much as you would on Earth.
  • Jupiter has many moons circling around it. Four of these moons are bigger than Pluto.

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