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B Manned mission to Europa

  1. Feb 20, 2017 #1
    Would it be possible with our current technology to send a few astronauts to Europa to drill through the ice sheet and search for underwater life?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2017 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Let's see. Your Mars colonization thread says the answer for Mars is "no". Indeed, we haven't been back to the moon in almost a half-century. So what do you think the answer is for something harder and farther?
     
  4. Feb 20, 2017 #3

    russ_watters

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    Oooh, ooh, me, I know this!!

    A maybe more pointed question is: why people? Just to mirror the plot of a decades old science fiction movie? How about an unmanned drill instead?
     
  5. Feb 20, 2017 #4
    This one isn't about colonization. An unmanned drill sounds good. I wouldn't have thought a mission with that degree of complexity could be carried out by robots alone.
    The sarcastic responses and snide remarks just keep me coming back for more :)
     
  6. Feb 20, 2017 #5
    Other than the Moon and more recently Mars we haven't had a lot of luck with landers of any sort yet.
    One successful landing of a probe on Venus which soon burned up, and one on Titan which got there but suffered from communication problems.
    So no, current technology is not able for the kind of mission you suggested.
     
  7. Feb 20, 2017 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    But sending people 1500x farther - yes, 1500 times - than has ever been done before, that's no problem?

    If you don't like people poking holes in your ideas, maybe you should put more work into them, n'est pas?
     
  8. Feb 20, 2017 #7
    As people already pointed, with the current technology would be really hard, if not impossible to send humans to drill ice at Europa. It would be also necessary to protect the astronauts from the strong Jupiter's radiation field. Moreover, it is cheaper and safer to send robots to do the job, like Nasa's Curiosity mission on Mars. But I understand your point, it is much more appealing for the society to see "one of its kind" going to a far place. That's the reason to send man to the Moon, it was more like to "prove a point" than to do science. I know, I know, a lot of technology was developed to do that, but I mean, it was not really necessary to send someone there...
    You can check a planned Nasa mission to Europa here, if it happens it will be awesome!

    And, I need to congratulate you for being polite and ignoring sarcastic people.
     
  9. Feb 21, 2017 #8

    Al_

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    I am beginning to think that manned space missions like Apollo are not going to make much sense as we look to the future.
    But - what humans do well is (exactly as you imply) the problem solving aspects of difficult missions. Missions like that may very well not be possible without intense (nearby) human input.
    So, how will people go there?
    My view is that large, say 100m diameter rotating space stations will be used. They will use Ion drives or fission fragment propulsion. Food will be grown on board, and all waste will all be recycled. A large crew will live on board for many years, on long missions. They will only exceptionally go on spacewalks, perhaps never. Their contact with outside will be through VR and robots, directly controlled or autonomous. Landers will go down to the surface of Moons, and comms satellites in orbit, keeping low latency comms links with the station to enable telepresence.

    This technology is not currently with us. But it's not unreasonable to think it can be soon.
     
  10. Feb 21, 2017 #9

    DrClaude

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    n'est-ce pas? :wink:
     
  11. Feb 21, 2017 #10
    A capsule of humans will contain lots of bacteria, fungi, protists, and bio contamination. The humans ruin Europa even if they are dead or dismembered on arrival. Crash and burn will not be strong enough to ensure sterilization. Jupiter's radiation may be lethal to humans but some bacteria can survive high doses. If the crash is warm it might sink and ice could protect the contaminants. Live humans drilling are quite likely to infect the ocean. Please do not do this and do not encourage it.

    A robot operated drill needs to be subjected to thorough testing. Certainty that everything on the probe is both sterile and sanitary needs to be guaranteed. Not contaminating is far more important than anything we could learn from a probe.
     
  12. Feb 21, 2017 #11
    'All These Worlds Are Yours, Except Europa, Attempt No Landings There'
    Quote is from the movie '2010' I think.
     
  13. Feb 21, 2017 #12
    Ahhh, yes, 2010, the sequel/follow up to the greatest movie of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey. :smile:
    A mission to Europa was being considered around the time the New Horizons was proposed: NASA could not do both, so the Europa mission was pidgeon holed from memory.
     
  14. Feb 22, 2017 #13
    The President in 1962 wanted us to put people on the Moon.
    It took 7 years, using low/no tech by today's standards, distracted by a foreign war and internal riots and revolution.
    48 years has passed... 45 years since the last man on the Moon... massive technical advances have come about...
    The President in 2017 wants us to put people on the Moon... hoping to do it within 8 years, in calmer times with high tech...

    The human missions calendar seems stalled...
     
  15. Feb 22, 2017 #14
    Hopefully, just an hiatus before its up again running on all cylinders.
    I personally believe a fully united effort by most nations of the world, would be helpful....But I'm an optimist. :wink:
     
  16. Feb 22, 2017 #15
    Could take off (pun haha) even if just the USA:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipe...Federal.svg/900px-NASA-Budget-Federal.svg.png
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipe...op_ten_military_expenditures_in_$_in_2013.jpg

    A return to 1960s/Apollo investment complete lots of missions and probably spin off a lot of domestic applications too.

    Suppose we shift USA military spending from 50% of the worlds military to say 25% and reroute those funds into a USA space program. I do not believe this is a security risk. Take for example the starshot program. One version has them firing 100GW lasers on a sail/chip/mirror a few meters in radius. That has some serious military deterrent capability. A lunar base with either mass accelerator or lunar space elevator would double as extreme artillery.
     
  17. Feb 22, 2017 #16
    International cooperation works well for the ISS and certainly could be advantageous for a Mars exploration mission.
    There is no advantage I can think of for the US or another nation to bear all of the costs (and risks) by themselves.
    (Other than 'ner ner we get there first', which isn't a very persuasive scientific argument)
    I think contemplating human missions beyond Mars will remain as Sci-fi for at least several decades.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  18. Feb 22, 2017 #17
    I totally agree with the international co-operation bit, but I certainly hope you are wrong with your several decades prediction!
    Two things I would like to happen before I kick the bucket...final confirmation of Life beyond Earth, and Men setting foot on Mars.
     
  19. Feb 22, 2017 #18
    I think it would be best if we just focused on Mars for now. Europa seems a little bit too far out of the way for a while, among other challenges, such as the extremely low temperature.
     
  20. Feb 22, 2017 #19
    That would obviously be great!
    But we need to proceed one baby step at a time. :smile:
    As I said earlier, a mission to Europa was being considered around the time the New Horizons was proposed: NASA could not do both, so the Europa mission was pidgeon holed.
    In my view, the first thing that needs to be done, is a permanent outpost on the Moon.
    Then a manned Mars expedition, when living in space skills are properly honed, and we are able to protect ourselves [astronauts] from the many dangers that will be faced.
    Of course all this depends on economical situations and political situations, which are what I see as the two hidden evil variables.
    I mean wouldn't it be great if we used the money that is spent on world militaristic endeavours, for a united space exploratory effort!
     
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