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Is Europa habitable? That's the big question that NASA hopes to answer in a future mission to the icy moon, slated to launch sometime in the 2020s. New details emerged on Tuesday when NASA revealed the nine scientific instruments chosen to chip away at Europa's mysteries.

Europa is thought to be the best candidate for hosting extraterrestrial life in the solar system, thanks to its suspected ocean beneath a crust of ice that could be up to several kilometres thick. Earlier this year, NASA announced plans to send a solar-powered spacecraft out to Jupiter, where it will spend three years in orbit around Jupiter and perform 45 flybys of Europa.

"We're trying to answer the big questions," said NASA science administrator John Grunsfeld in a press conference. "Where did we come from? Where are we going? And, are we alone?"

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