PIMS Faraday Cup Sensors
Source: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
Published: September 8, 2021

Built by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, PIMS is made up of two instruments, each with two identical sensors called Faraday cups that will measure the plasmas, or electrically charged gases, in Europa’s ionosphere and Jupiter’s magnetosphere. Pictured in a clean room at APL are the recently assembled Faraday cup sensors and instrument housings in two configurations. On the left is the final flight hardware, with insulating thermal blankets installed; on the right is a test configuration that protects sensitive hardware for transportation. Plasma measurements made by PIMS will contribute to Europa Clipper’s science investigation to determine the thickness of the ice shell that covers Europa and the depth and makeup of the liquid-water ocean below that shell.