2024 ASCEND to Feature Europa Clipper Mission in William H. Pickering Lecture Written 8 July 2024


Bonnie Buratti, NASA

Dr. Bonnie Buratti, senior scientist at NASA's Jet Propultion Laboratory, speaks during a panel discussion. | Credit: NASA

July 8, 2024 – Reston, Va. – AIAA is pleased to announce the 2024 William H. Pickering Lecture, “Europa Clipper: First NASA Mission to an Ocean World,” by Bonnie Buratti, Deputy Project Scientist, Europa Clipper Mission, 31 July, 12 p.m. PT, during 2024 ASCEND, 30 July – 1 August, Las Vegas.

As NASA’s first detailed exploration of an ocean world with an overarching goal of searching for a habitable zone, Europa Clipper is scheduled to launch in 2024. Europa is one of Jupiter’s four moons discovered by Galileo in 1610. It almost certainly harbors a salty ocean underneath a thick ice crust. This ocean has all the requirements for a habitable zone where primitive life could potentially thrive: liquid water, energy in the form of chemical potentials, and organic molecules. Europa Clipper also will study the geology, interior, and composition of Europa. Buratti’s lecture will showcase the mission's objectives and its role in the search for life beyond Earth. This lecture will be delivered in person, recorded, and available on demand.

Buratti is Senior Research Scientist, Principal, and Fellow at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. An expert on planetary surfaces, she has held leadership roles on several NASA flight projects, including Cassini to Saturn and New Horizons to Pluto. She is a recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication and the Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of planetary science. She is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Astronomical Society, and author of over 250 papers and the popular book, Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar (Cambridge).

Named for former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director William H. Pickering, the lectureship honors his initiation and leadership of America’s robotic scientific space program, from Explorer I in 1958 through the development of the Viking Mars orbiters and the Voyager outer planet and interstellar missions. 

Registration for 2024 ASCEND is open; press credentials are available here.

Media Contact: Rebecca Gray, RebeccaG@AIAA.org, 804-397-5270 cell

About AIAA
AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org or follow AIAA on X/TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram, and visit ascend.events or follow ASCEND on LinkedInX/Twitter, and Instagram.