Manned mission to Europa: science or still scifi?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I ask because I feel a mission to Europa as something much more interesting than landing on Mars because of its obvious potential astrobiological implications. And I suspect that drilling through Europa's ice is never going to happen just by sending some sort of robotic drilling rig alone and think that's something that can't be done without human direct intervention. Obviously we are still far away, in space and time, from such an achievement. However, I'm just wondering how much more challenging than a Mars mission would be a human mission to Europa? What kind of technical impediments would be there more than those we already have to face for a Mars mission? What are the biggest obstacles? (such as the length of the mission, the radiation hazards, the fuel and energy storage?, etc.)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
berkeman
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I don't usually post in threads like this, but what in the world (sorry for the pun) would be the advantage of sending a human on this mission instead of a robot? I know what the disadvantages and extra baggage are...
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50
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science or still scifi?
That part is easy - since we can't even do Mars yet (or for that matter, return to the moon), still scifi.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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Manned mission to Europa: science or still scifi?
I would suggest the answer follows obviously from the definition of "fiction": A fact is a real thing that has happened whereas a fiction is not.
However, I'm just wondering how much more challenging than a Mars mission would be a human mission to Europa?
It's mostly just a matter of scale.
 
  • #5
PeroK
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I don't usually post in threads like this, but what in the world (sorry for the pun) would be the advantage of sending a human on this mission instead of a robot? I know what the disadvantages and extra baggage are...
It's really a question of science fiction. Films like Star Trek or Alien wouldn't work if they had a crew of all androids, robots and computers. This creates an expectation that space exploration must include humans.
 
  • #6
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Very much sci-fi. We are unable to send people to the Moon (0,0026 au away) since 1972, and you'd like to send them more than 4 au further. Hence they face about two years of journey in a cramped box, plummeted by cosmic radiation and occasional rage of the Sun in form of CMEs and flares. Only to get to the place where it is cold as hell, the Sun gives 25x less power than here, and don't forget that raging monster 320 times heavier than Earth who dominates the sky. Its magnetic field produces so high radiation on Europa's surface that it can kill a robot (that's why we're not sending Europa orbiters or landers anytime soon), not only a feeble organism from Earth. And all that parade of obstacles doesn't even include angering a certain monolith.
 
  • #7
stefan r
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..I feel a mission to Europa as something much more interesting than landing on Mars because of its obvious potential astrobiological implications....
Then you should be firmly opposed to a manned mission to Europa. It should not even be considered until there is an in-space clean room on a station. All of the satellite and equipment should be re-sterilized after leaving Earth.

There are a large number of interesting moons around Jupiter. Why dump sewage on the one object that is most likely to have life?

Very much sci-fi. We are unable to send people to the Moon (0,0026 au away) since 1972, ...
I have not worn diapers since the 1970s. That does not mean I am incapable of putting on a diaper and then soiling it. I just have no desire to do so. If the USA's aerospace budget was funded at the same percentage of GDP as it was in the 1960's there would be a sizeable off planet presence. This year the dollars spent on mega-yachts exceed NASA's budget. The mega yacht support ship looks like science fiction but it is not.
 
  • #8
sophiecentaur
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It's really a question of science fiction. Films like Star Trek or Alien wouldn't work if they had a crew of all androids, robots and computers. This creates an expectation that space exploration must include humans.
I did enjoy the film WALL-E which is the only exception I can think of to your assertion.
The Mars Curiosity Rover has its own Twitter account and he she it is followed by thousands of people, so I believe. But I reckon most of what it says is via humans.
 
  • #9
Ken G
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The mega yacht support ship looks like science fiction but it is not.
I couldn't have invented a joke that funny if I tried. Which makes it not so funny. ("Is your changing lifestyle pushing your superyacht beyond its limits?")
 

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