Skip to comments.NASA Eyes Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa
Posted on 12/14/2012 4:40:56 PM PST by BenLurkin
Though NASA is devoting many of its exploration resources to Mars these days, the agency still has its eye on an icy moon of Jupiter that may be capable of supporting life as we know it.
Last week, NASA officials announced that they plan to launch a $1.5 billion rover to Mars in 2020, adding to a string of Red Planet missions already on the docket. The Curiosity rover just landed this past August, for example, and an orbiter called Maven and a lander named InSight are slated to blast off in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
But NASA is also thinking about ways to investigate the possible habitability of Europa, Jupiter's fourth-largest moon. One concept that may be gaining traction is a so-called "clipper" probe that would make multiple flybys of the moon, studying its icy shell and suspected subsurface ocean as it zooms past.
Astrobiologists regard Europa, which is about 1,900 miles (3,100 kilometers) wide, as one of the best bets in our solar system to host life beyond Earth.
The moon is believed to harbor a large ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell. Further, this ocean is likely in direct contact with Europa's rocky mantle, raising the possibility of all sorts of interesting chemical reactions, Senske said.
The irradiation of Europa's surface and tidal heating of its interior also mean the moon likely has ample energy sources another key requirement for life as we know it.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
The Europa on earth is a little wider than that, and currently habitable, but the officials in Brussels are working on that.
“All these world s are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there...”
Great, we will tick off the Monolith Builders. B-P
"Oh I hope not."
A little Jose Jimenez humor there.
Too cold for Muslims.
What is most important here.
Is it that Europa can support life?
Or that a mission to Europa can support funding?
If NASA scrapped Muslim outreach, manned space flights and that worthless space station, it could return billions to the treasury and undertake worthwhile missions such as this.
What happened to my comment? Is thinking manned space flight is a waste of money anti-conservative?????? Crazy.
Though I wouldn't mind a program whereby the first and second stages of rockets were programmed to reach out, or at least down, to our Muslim friends at terminal velocity.
Maybe Arthur C. Clarke knew something we don’t?
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Shouldn’t they be asking the Saudis for help building the flying carpet to get there? We wouldn’t want them to feel bad about themselves... :)
A Europa mission has topped the wish list of scientists for the last decade. Unfortunately, the mission they want will cost $4 billion over its lifetime, which just isn’t going to happen. There is talk about scaling down, but even a “bare-bones” mission is expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion.
If nothing else the radiation environment at Europa is just beastly, and fries conventional electronics in no time.