The triangular-shaped, silver-colored vault plate can be seen attached to the Europa Clipper spacecraft. Two metal bars cross in front of the plate. Several screws can be seen holding the plate to the spacecraft. Orange colored wires run alongside the other equipment on the spacecraft.
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Published: May 7, 2024
Historical Date: May 3, 2024

The vault plate is installed on NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft on May 3, 2024. The plate is made of tantalum metal that's about 1 millimeter thick, about 7 inches tall, and 11 inches wide (18 by 28 centimeters). It's part of the structure that will protect Europa Clipper’s electronics from Jupiter’s harmful radiation.  The outward-facing side of the vault plate is engraved with waveforms for the word “water” in 104 languages. The waveforms extend from a circular symbol in the middle of the design, which represents the non-spoken word for “water” in American Sign Language. The Europa Clipper orbiter is being assembled in the clean room of High Bay 1 at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California.