NOVAC Public Meeting, Dr. Kate Craft , Europa Clipper Mission update, 2/11/2024, 7:30pm EST


Dr. Kate Craft from the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory will bring us up-to-date on the Europa Clipper mission, which will soon disembark on its journey to explore the intriguing moon Europa in the Jovian system. Dr Craft is a member of the team responsible for maximizing the scientific potential of the data that the Clipper’s instruments will measure. She is also a member of a team studying the possibility of a future crybot mission to the subsurface of Europa. Please see Dr Craft’s description of her talk below.

Europa, an intriguing moon of Jupiter, has an icy exterior with a deep salty ocean beneath. Owing to its slightly eccentric orbit, this world undergoes tidal forcing that not only provides heat that maintains its liquid ocean but may also cause hydrothermal activity at its seafloor. This activity can provide nutrients and enable the reductant-oxidant mixing needed to support a habitable environment within Europa’s ocean. The Europa Clipper mission (, scheduled to launch in October of this year(!!), will investigate Europa to constrain its habitability and seek to further understand its geology, interior, composition, and search for any current activity. If Europa harbors the needed conditions and ingredients for supporting life, potential follow-on missions could search for biosignatures there, and at other ocean worlds, potentially making the first discovery of life beyond Earth.

In Person Option:

Meet at George Mason University, Exploratory Hall, Room 3301.  Check GMU web site for nearby parking options.  Some lots or garages do charge for parking.  Room will be open as early as 6:45pm.

Join virtually using Google Meet:

Video call link:

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 252-344-1407 PIN: ‪ ‪937 923 741‬#

The online meeting will be available at 7:00 pm for participant open discussion.

Presentation Details:

Talk Title: Europa Clipper mission


Dr. Kate Craft is a planetary scientist and astrobiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. A main focus of her current work is helping to develop NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, where she works with the instrument teams and Project to develop the measurements and operations, in order to optimize for the best science return possible. Dr. Craft is also part of several studies and research projects for future missions including being the lead of a project to develop the communication technology for a future subsurface ocean world cryobot. She is also working to develop a microfluidic sample preparation device for in situ purification of biosignatures. Outside of work, she enjoys running, soccer, and fun activities with her 3 kids 

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