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Because both planets travel in an elliptical path around the sun, Jupiter's distance from Earth is constantly changing. When the two planets are at their closest point, the distance to Jupiter is only 365 million miles (588 million kilometers). From its closest point, Jupiter shines so brightly that even Venus dims in comparison. At its farthest, the gas giant lies 601 million miles (968 million km) away
Juno, which launched the most recently, on August 5, 2011, will take five years to travel to the gas giant.
A probe of the potentially life-bearing plumes might be possible in a five to fifteen year time frame.
3000 mile-wide Europa is considerably warmer than 500 mile Enceladus; 102 K. average, against 75 K.
3000 mile-wide Europa is considerably warmer than 500 mile Enceladus; 102 K. average, against 75 K. Europa is believed on pretty sound evidence to have a global ocean, with more water than all Earth's oceans. Enceladus may have a small lake near its pole. The trip to Europa is substantially shorter. If we have to choose to investigate one or the other for signs of life, I'd vote for Europa.edit on 8-4-2014 by Ross 54 because: added information