Europa Ultraviolet Spectrograph


Europa Ultraviolet Spectrograph
Instrument typeUltraviolet spectrograph
Functiondetector and analyzer
Mission durationCruise: 3-6 years
Science phase: ≥ 3 years
Spectral bandultraviolet
Host spacecraft
SpacecraftEuropa Clipper
Launch date≈ 2025 [1]
Launch siteKennedy Space Center

The Europa Ultraviolet Spectrograph (Europa-UVS) is an ultraviolet spectrograph imager that will be flown on board the Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter's moon Europa.[2] The Europa-UVS will be able to detect small erupting plumes and will provide data about the composition and dynamics of Europa's thin exosphere.

The Principal Investigator is Kurt Retherford of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and the instrument engineer is Laura Jones-Wilson from JPL.


The Europa Ultraviolet Spectrograph inherits technology from a series of successful ultraviolet imaging spectrographs (Rosetta-Alice, New Horizons-Alice, LRO-LAMP, Juno-UVS and JUICE-UVS).[2] Europa-UVS observes photons in the 55-210 nm wavelength range, along a 7.5° slit.[2] A radiation-hardened integrated circuit will be incorporated to meet the radiation requirements.

The Europa-UVS offers additional capabilities to locate and characterize plumes erupting from Europa's surface. UVS will also investigate the composition and chemistry of Europa's atmosphere, its surface, and study how energy and mass flow around the moon and its environment.[3]

The instrument is a sensitive imaging spectrograph that can observe in the ultraviolet spectral range of 55 nm to 210 nm and can achieve a spectral resolution of <0.6 nm. The instrument does not contain a scan mirror, so the spacecraft must provide the maneuvering capability necessary to obtain complete spatial images of the moon.[3]


The science objectives of the Europa-UVS investigation are: [2]

  • Determine the composition and chemistry, source and sinks, and structure and variability of Europa's atmosphere.
  • Search for and characterize active plumes in terms of global distribution, structure, composition, and variability.
  • Explore the surface composition and microphysics and their relation to endogenic and exogenic processes.
  • Investigate how energy and mass flow in the Europa atmosphere, neutral cloud and plasma torus, and footprint on Jupiter.

See also

  • UVS (Juno) (Instrument on the Juno Jupiter orbiter which arrived at Jupiter in 2016)


  1. ^ Europa Clipper passes key review. Jeff Foust, Space News. 22 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d The Ultraviolet Spectrograph on the Europa Mission (Europa-UVS). Retherford, K. D.; Gladstone, R.; Greathouse, T. K.; Steffl, A.; Davis, M. W.; Feldman, P. D.; McGrath, M. A.; Roth, L.; Saur, J.; Spencer, J. R.; Stern, S. A.; Pope, S.; Freeman, M. A.; Persyn, S. C.; Araujo, M. F.; Cortinas, S. C.; Monreal, R. M.; Persson, K. B.; Trantham, B. J.; Versteeg, M. H.; Walther, B. C. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2015, abstract #P13E-02.
  3. ^ a b Use of Model Payload for Europa Mission Development. Kari Lewis, Ken Klaasen, Sara Susca, Bogdan Oaida, Melora Larson, Tony Vanelli, Alex Murray, Laura Jones, Valerie Thomas, Larry Frank. IEEE Aerospace Conference. 2014.