NASA's Mission to Icy Moons: Uncovering Signs of Extraterrestrial Life

Subterranean oceans on Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus are the most likely places in the solar system to host extraterrestrial life.

A new study reveals that individual ice grains ejected from Europa and Enceladus may contain enough material for instruments to detect signs of life, if it exists.

NASA's Europa Clipper mission, launching in October 2023, may be able to confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life during its six-year journey.

The spacecraft's powerful SUrface Dust Analyzer is expected to detect cellular material in one out of hundreds of thousands of ice grains.

The European Space Agency's Jupiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission will also study Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede closely, arriving in July 2031.

Saturn's moon Enceladus, with its warm, salty ocean and plumes spewing liquid into space, is another prime target for astrobiologists.

The proposed NASA Enceladus Orbilander mission, set to launch in October 2038, will orbit the moon for six months, sampling its plumes and landing to take larger samples for in-situ examination.