Episode 124: How Do You Study Another Planet’s Moon?

Meet the Expert: Tracy Drain, Flight Systems Engineer NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Tracy Drain NASA engineer


Tracy Drain is a Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is currently the lead Flight Systems engineer for the Europa Clipper mission. This spacecraft will launch in 2024 set off on a 5.5-year journey to study Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter.  In the past, Tracy has worked on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (launched in 2005, still orbiting Mars), the Kepler mission (launched in 2009, and used to discover thousands of new planets in our galaxy) the Juno mission (launched in 2011, still in orbit around Jupiter) and the Psyche mission (slated to study an asteroid named Psyche). In her spare time, she loves to read, watch a variety of shows (documentaries, sci-fi, and most recently kdramas!), study languages (Spanish and Korean) and travel.



Some fun pictures of Tracy. As you can see, she loves Star Wars and Star Trek!

Tracy Drain hugging BB-8  Tracy Drain Star Trek


What is Europa?

  Europa, Jupiter's Moon

According to NASA  https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/jupiter-moons/europa/overview/

Europa may be the most promising place in our solar system to find present-day environments suitable for some form of life beyond Earth.

Scientists are almost certain that hidden beneath the icy surface of Europa is a salty-water ocean thought to contain twice as much water as Earth’s oceans combined. And like Earth, Europa is thought to also contain a rocky mantle and iron core.”

Click on the Link Above to learn more.




Learn about magnets and magnetic fields by playing around with them. Try this website: https://babbledabbledo.com/fun-science-experiments-magnet-magic/

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Astronauat Aquanaut Book by Jennifer SwansonHighlighted book for this Episode! 

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact (National Geographic Kids)
by Jennifer Swanson









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