Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I NASA study on Europa lander

  1. Feb 12, 2017 #1

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    NASA did a study how to investigate the surface of Europa. It is separate from the Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission, which has a small lander as well, but only with a small budget. Confusingly, the same artist's impressions are used for both. There is also ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, launching 2022.

    The mission would deliver a small lander on Jupiter's moon Europa. The moon has a thick ice crust above a deep ocean, where life could exist. While there are ideas of probes melting through the ice, this mission would just study the surface: During the 20 days of nominal mission time, five ice samples would be extracted and searched for cell-like structures, organic molecules, and substances outside chemical equilibrium. The mission lifetime is determined by radiation damage - it is quite possible that the probe survives longer and can take more samples. Evidence for life could be found if (a) there is life and (b) some cells or chemical products of life reach the surface. While that would certainly be the most exciting possible discovery: Even without traces of life we could learn a lot about the surface chemistry of this exotic world.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2017 #2

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Are there surface vents on Europa? The artist's rendering seems to show one. Wouldn't landing near one of the vents provide a lot more evidence of what is beneath the surface ice?
     
  4. Feb 12, 2017 #3

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Data suggests that they exist, and I guess they'll try to land close to them if possible. It is unclear how far in advance they have to fix the landing site. The multiply-flyby mission will probably help finding a good spot.
     
  5. Feb 15, 2017 #4
    I remember well around the late seventies I think, when a proposed Europa mission was pidgeon holed in favour of the highly successful "New Horizons" probe that is now well past Pluto.
    I was bitterly disappointed at the time, as I believed we had much more to discover and learn from Europa......That disappointment has subdued somewhat particularly with the more than successful New Horizons.
     
  6. Feb 22, 2017 #5

    1oldman2

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  7. Feb 23, 2017 #6

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Nice to see progress for the fly-by spacecraft.

    All the reports about searching for life on Europa are more fun to read in German, where Europe is "Europa", identical to the moon's name.
     
  8. Feb 23, 2017 #7

    1oldman2

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What a cool perspective, I hadn't thought of the spelling. It seems life in Europa is a sure bet.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: NASA study on Europa lander
  1. Life On Europa? (Replies: 2)

  2. Europa Life (Replies: 3)

  3. NASA Europa announcement (Replies: 18)

Loading...