E-THEMIS

  • Europa Thermal Emission Imaging System
  • MISSION: Europa Clipper
  • Launch: June 2023
  • Currently: In Development

What is it?

The Europa Thermal Emission Imaging System (E-THEMIS) is an instrument on board NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. With a design heritage from a highly successful Mars imaging system, E-THEMIS is a robust and proven instrument for operations at Jupiter’s moon Europa.

What does it do?

The Europa Thermal Emission Imaging System will provide high spatial resolution, multi-spectral imaging of Europa in the mid infrared and far infrared bands to help detect active sites, such as potential vents erupting plumes of water into space.

Why is it significant?

NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter’s moon Europa and investigate whether the moon could harbor conditions suitable for life in the global ocean that underlies the icy shell at the surface.

Science Objectives

  • Confirm the existence, and characterize the nature, of water within or beneath the ice, and processes of surface-ice-ocean exchange.
  • Investigate the distribution and chemistry of key compounds and the links to ocean composition.
  • Characteristics and formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity.

Slightly smaller than Earth’s Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and has a water-ice crust and probably an iron–nickel core. It has a very thin atmosphere composed primarily of oxygen. Its surface is striated by cracks and streaks, but craters are relatively few.Scientists calculate that heat from tidal flexing causes the ocean to remain liquid and drives ice-shell movements similar to plate tectonics, cycling chemicals from the surface into the ocean below. Sea salt from a subsurface ocean may be coating some geological features on Europa, suggesting that the ocean is interacting with the sea floor. In addition, the Hubble Space Telescope has detected water vapor plumes which are thought to be caused by erupting cryogeysers.

Meet the Group

Principal Investigator

  • Philip Christensen
  • Arizona State University

Engineering Team

  • Saadat Anwar, Software Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Courtnie Besich, Administrative Support
  • Arizona State University
  • Heather Bowles, Configuration/Quality
  • Arizona State University
  • Stillman Chase, Consultant
  • Arizona State University
  • Ryan Fagan, Student Worker
  • Arizona State University
  • Zoltan Farkas, Mechanical Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Tara Fisher, Project Administrator
  • Arizona State University
  • Andrew Holmes, Mechanical Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Russell Hudyma, Consultant
  • Arizona State University
  • Ian Kubik, Mechanical Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Edgar Madrill, Senior Optical Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Greg Mehall, Project Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Mark Miner, Thermal Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Bill O'Donnell, Opto/Mechanical Technician
  • Arizona State University
  • Carlos Ortiz, Thermal Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Mehul Patel, Project Manager
  • Arizona State University
  • Dan Pelham, Lead Opto/Mechanical Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Nick Piacentine, IT Manager
  • Arizona State University
  • Ken Shamordola, Consultant
  • Arizona State University
  • MarKetta Roemke, Administrative Assistant
  • Arizona State University
  • Tom Tourville, Opto/Mechanical Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Tom Wolverton, Mech/Structural Engineer
  • Arizona State University
  • Rob Woodward, Manufacturing Engineer
  • Arizona State University

Graduate Students

  • Jon Hill
  • Arizona State University
  • Alexandra Huff
  • Arizona State University
  • Aditya Khuller
  • Arizona State University
  • Sean Peters
  • Arizona State University
  • Jayanth Serla
  • Arizona State University

Subcontractors

  • Brandon Hanold, Focal Plane I&T Lead
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Conner Knickel, Test Lead
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Joe Krehbiel, Harness Lead
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Barbara League, Program Manager
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Neal Nickles, Radiation Egnineering Lead
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • David Osterman, Systems Engineer
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Cynthia Rueckert, Mission Assurance Lead
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Tyler Saunders, Electrical Engineering Lead
  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies
  • Matthew Brick, Firmware
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • John Davis, Program Manager
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • Tracy Hunt, Systems Validation & Test
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • Alan Levy, Calibration Specialist
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • Paolo Masini, Technical Lead
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • Thomas McEwan, Electrical Engineer
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • Richard Peralta, Systems Engineer
  • Raytheon Vision Systems
  • Thomas Sprafke, Mechanical Engineer
  • Raytheon Vision Systems