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Europa Life Determination Mission

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posted on Nov, 6 2003 @ 09:53 PM
To provide revolutionary entry dynamics / landing, surface/subsurface research operations, and communications data express concepts that enhance the Europa Search for Life Mission. The determination of Europa to contain the basic elements of life would provide evidence of biological life outside the Earth.

To advance space exploration by identifying revolutionary system concepts and technologies that show potential to improve entry/descent/landing, planetary research, and interplanetary continuous communications


posted on Nov, 6 2003 @ 09:57 PM
Recent images of Europa, fourth largest satellite of Jupiter, hint of a thin frozen crust that may hide a liquid ocean beneath the surface. If liquid water exists on Europa, it is possible that there may also be life there, perhaps forming near undersea volcanic vents. In recent years, life has been discovered in extreme environments on Earth, where no one believed life could exist - too dark, too cold, too salty, too acidic... But life on Earth has been discovered at great ocean depths, beyond the penetration of sunlight, thriving on upwelling chemical nutrients from the interior of the planet. As part of NASA's Outer Planets/Solar Probe Project, preliminary development has begun on a mission to send a spacecraft to Europa to measure the thickness of the surface ice and to detect an underlying liquid ocean if it exists.

Proposed Launch Date:
March 2008
Begin Orbiting Jupiter:
Jun - Dec 2010
Begin Orbiting Europa:
Sep 2011 - Sep 2012
Under Study


More info on Europa:
Europa [yur-ROH-pah] is a strange looking moon of Jupiter with a large number of intersecting features. It is unlike Callisto and Ganymede with their heavily cratered crusts. Europa has almost a complete absence of craters as well as almost no vertical relief. As one scientist put it, the features "might have been painted on with a felt marker". There is a possibility that Europa may be internally active due to tidal heating at a level one-tenth or less that of Io. Models of Europa's interior show that beneath a thin 5 km (3 miles) crust of water ice, Europa may have oceans as deep as 50 km (30 miles) or more. The visible markings on Europa could be a result of global expansion where the crust could have fractured, filled with water and froze.


[Edited on 6-11-2003 by Russian]

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