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UArizona among finalists for NASA's Jupiter moon mission

Posted at 3:54 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 17:55:27-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — A University of Arizona-led mission proposal to study one of Jupiter's moon is one of four finalists for the next $500 million Discovery mission.

NASA announced the finalists Thursday.

If UArizona wins, the Io Volcano Observer mission (IVO) will orbit Jupiter and make 10 close flybys of its moon Io. Io is the most volcanically active world in the solar system. This mission will determine if the moon has a magma ocean hidden beneath its surface.

"To become a finalist for the next phase of the NASA Discovery Program is a tremendous accomplishment," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "If we are selected in the final round, IVO will become the second University of Arizona-led Discovery mission following the Phoenix Mars Lander, and the third University of Arizona-led NASA planetary mission, following the current OSIRIS-REx mission. The University of Arizona has a long history of space research that began with mapping the moon and has included most NASA planetary missions. This is a phenomenal step for our continuing leadership in space exploration."

The four finalists will now begin a one-year study before NASA makes its final selection, expected in 2021.