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NASA Moves Forward with Mission to Explore Europa

NASA announced plans to move forward with a mission to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The move comes as the mission concept—which has been under development since 2011—passed its first major review and progresses officially into the next mission phase, formulation. The mission has particularly strong support from the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA, especially from former subcommittee member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and current subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (R-TX). The pair of legislators included substantial funding for the mission in the subcommittee’s legislation each year since FY 2013, even though the Administration did not request any funding until FY 2015. The mission, as currently envisioned, would complete dozens of close flybys near the moon in search of signs of habitability in the vast oceans beneath the moon’s icy crust.