Learn more about the spacecraft that have visited either visited Europa or contributed the our understanding of the Jovian system:

Future

  • This next-generation orbiter was designed to build on the science of previous missions to explore Jupiter, its many moon, faint rings and powerful magnetosphere. The proposed launch date is in the 2020s.

Present

  • From it's perch in orbit at Earth, Hubble continues to reveal new information about Europa with its powerful lenses. One of the most intriguing recent findings is the possibility that Europa, like Saturn's moon Enceladus, may have water vapor plumes erupting off the surface.

  • Juno is contributing to our knowledge of how Europa and Jupiter's other moons contribute to the planet's magnetosphere and auroras. Juno is also observing tides raised within Jupiter by the gravity of Europa and the other large moons.

Past

  • Pluto-bound New Horizons used a 2007 Jupiter gravity assist to study the giant world and test out its science instruments before its historic Pluto flyby in 2015. The spacecraft captured new images of Europa and other key moons.

  • Cassini uses Jupiter's gravity to boost it on to Saturn. The spacecraft also teamed up with the Galileo spacecraft, already in orbit at Jupiter, to study the Jovian system from two unique vantage points at the same time.

  • On February 8, 1992 the Ulysses spacecraft used Jupiter's gravity to swing "up" so it could explore the poles of our sun. Ulysses found that Jupiter's gravity had changed, and there were fewer volcanoes erupting on Io.

  • No spacecraft revealed more about Jupiter and its moons than the Galileo orbiter. Galileo spotted the first of evidence of an ocean on Europa, and also found signs a few other large moons may have liquid water under an icy crust.

  • The Voyagers made many important discoveries at Jupiter. They sent back detailed pictures of Jupiter's incredible cloud system, including the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that rotates endlessly like an enormous hurricane. The Voyagers also took pictures of Jupiter's major moons.

  • Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were the first spacecraft to travel to a planet beyond Mars. They were launched one year apart, in 1972 and 1973. They both flew by Jupiter (Pioneer 10 arriving first), and Pioneer 11 went on to Saturn.