Europa Clipper: Exploring Jupiter’s Ocean World

Silicon Valley Lecture Series

Tags: Solar System, NASA Missions and Observatories

Time: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 -

Location: Foothill College

On Wednesday, May 22, 2024 t 7 pm (PDT), Dr. Robert Pappalardo (NASA Jet Propulsion Lab) will give a free, illustrated, non-technical lecture entitled: “Europa Clipper: Exploring Jupiter’s Ocean World"

Livestreamed at YouTube:

[if you go to this web address the evening of the talk, you will see and be able to participate in the live event]

This virtual talk is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series (through Foothill College), now in its 24th year.

Jupiter's moon Europa may be a habitable world, containing the “ingredients” necessary for life within its ocean. Data from NASA’s earlier Galileo mission suggest that a global salty ocean exists beneath the icy surface. Tides have broken that floating ice shell to create ridges, bands, and chaotic terrains that may be related to local melting. The Europa Clipper mission will explore Europa with a remarkably capable suite of instruments, through multiple close flybys from Jupiter orbit. The spacecraft will examine the moon’s ice shell, ocean, and geology, and search for current activity –including plumes that emerge from surface cracks. This talk will summarize our understanding of Europa and the and status and promise of the Europa Clipper mission.

Dr. Robert Pappalardo is the Project Scientist for NASA’s Europa Clipper Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the Caltech. He has also served as the Project Scientist for the Cassini Equinox (first extended) Mission at Saturn, for which he received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal. He received his B.A. in Geological Sciences from Cornell University in 1986, and his Ph.D. in Geology from Arizona State University in 1994. His research focuses on processes that have shaped the icy satellites of the outer solar system, especially Europa, and the role of its probable subsurface ocean.

The lecture is co-sponsored by:

  • The Foothill College Science, Tech, Engineering & Math Division
  • The SETI Institute
  • The Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Past lectures in the series can also be found on YouTube at: and as audio podcasts at: