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Ice blades threaten Europa landing

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Jupiter's icy moon Europa is a prime target for future space missions as it harbours a buried ocean that could have the right conditions for life.

But attempts to land may face a major hazard: jagged "blades" of ice up to 10m long. A major US conference has heard the moon may have ideal conditions for icy spikes called "penitentes" to form.

Scientists would like to send a lander down to sample surface regions where water wells up through the icy crust. These areas could allow a robotic probe to sample a proxy for ocean water that lies several kilometres deep.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-21341176

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I'd assume to get through the ice you would use an explosive as the energy required to make sufficient heat would require a large craft/satellite so wouldn't this automatically solve this issue? If some one knows please advise me

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I'd assume to get through the ice you would use an explosive as the energy required to make sufficient heat would require a large craft/satellite so wouldn't this automatically solve this issue? If some one knows please advise me

I dont know if an explosion on a planet/moon that may harbor life is a good idea or would be considered. But then again something will be needed to get under the surface. But the article didnt specifically say that those spikes exists, only that they could. Perhaps once we send probes to do close up flybys with, we may find there is more suitable places to gain entry... hopefully anyway!

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There are cracks in the ice that would offer access to the ocean of Europa easier than was once thought.

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Might be able to launch projectiles at the surface, as they did on Earth's moon, and examine the plumes' materials by the craft in orbit.

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They look frightening! But if just ice should be reasonably easy to clear for a landing, no? I can barely wait for a rover to land on Europa! Hurry up NASA!

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There are cracks in the ice that would offer access to the ocean of Europa easier than was once thought.

I know we do see a scarred surface, but might they have cracked and refrozen, just leaving the scars? I guess we need to get a close flyby going on, or even an orbital satellite to peer closely at suitable landing places

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They look frightening! But if just ice should be reasonably easy to clear for a landing, no? I can barely wait for a rover to land on Europa! Hurry up NASA!

hehe yeh you wouldn't want to sit on one would you!?! But I agree, Ive almost convinced myself that 'something' is alive and swimming about in those oceans under the ice... hope Im still alive when we know for sure !

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hehe yeh you wouldn't want to sit on one would you!?! But I agree, Ive almost convinced myself that 'something' is alive and swimming about in those oceans under the ice... hope Im still alive when we know for sure !

Do you think there are a few AA swimming about on Europa seeder? :o jk

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Do you think there are a few AA swimming about on Europa seeder? :o jk

I think humans would be the only aliens if we landed on Europa... Lol

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Posted (edited)

Do we need to "land" as such? Could we send something with a strong shield in at high speed and bury it in the ice seeming as we need to get through quite a few kilometers of Ice already?

Edited by psyche101

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Posted (edited)

Do we need to "land" as such? Could we send something with a strong shield in at high speed and bury it in the ice seeming as we need to get through quite a few kilometers of Ice already?

I think that fact alone will make it a very difficult task. When the Russians drilled lake Vostok, well they used drills! 20 years drilling for for 40 liters of juice!

http://www.dailymail...Antarctica.html

So we need something that can get in lots quicker...obviously perhaps!

Now for a vid, and despite the title its nothing to do with the AA crowd! 'Aliens of the Deep & Mission to Europa'

quote: "Wherever we find water on earth, we find life"! (The Europa bit starts at approx 4.30 ms onwards but its all good to watch)

[media=]

[/media]

But if they do it the way the vid proposes, how might the probe get out? Or can we send signals thru ice? Europa is an exciting prospect for sure, but could we pull it off? I certainly hope so, fingers crossed eh?

.

Edited by seeder
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Do we need to "land" as such?

Absolutely yes we do.

There is no point sending a probe through the ice into the ocean below if it can not transmit its findings back to Earth. That is going to require a transmitter on the surface to relay the signals either to an orbiter and then on to Earth or directly back to Earth.

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What do you think would be the best way of getting through the ice waspie?Heat,crash through,drill?Do we have any idea if the cracks in the ice are much thinner than the rest or is it about the same thickness?

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What do you think would be the best way of getting through the ice waspie?Heat,crash through,drill?Do we have any idea if the cracks in the ice are much thinner than the rest or is it about the same thickness?

To be honest I don't know.

I suspect that the ice will be too thick to crash through. Some of the proposals for melting through the ice look promising, but the only exist on paper at the moment. I suspect that, unless we find some very thin ice, drilling is going to be out of the question. The weight of the boring equipment would be prohibitive. Besides if we do find thin ice.

I think what this topic is really highlighting is the need for orbiter missions first, to map Europa's surface in enough detail that lnding missions can be planned an carried out with a high probability of success.

NASA and other space agencies have always taken a step by step approach to exploration. First fly-bys, then orbiters and only then landers. This is how the explored the Moon and how they are exploring Mars.

In topic after topic I have defended this approach from people impatient to send landers to destinations such as Europa. This topic is a great demonstration of why NASA's approach is the correct one. If such ice blades do exist sending a lander to Europa would have a very high probability of failure. We need to know if and where it is safe to land, then, when there is enough information, the planning can take place of how best to achieve that goal.

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To be honest I don't know.

I suspect that the ice will be too thick to crash through. Some of the proposals for melting through the ice look promising, but the only exist on paper at the moment. I suspect that, unless we find some very thin ice, drilling is going to be out of the question. The weight of the boring equipment would be prohibitive. Besides if we do find thin ice.

I think what this topic is really highlighting is the need for orbiter missions first, to map Europa's surface in enough detail that lnding missions can be planned an carried out with a high probability of success.

NASA and other space agencies have always taken a step by step approach to exploration. First fly-bys, then orbiters and only then landers. This is how the explored the Moon and how they are exploring Mars.

In topic after topic I have defended this approach from people impatient to send landers to destinations such as Europa. This topic is a great demonstration of why NASA's approach is the correct one. If such ice blades do exist sending a lander to Europa would have a very high probability of failure. We need to know if and where it is safe to land, then, when there is enough information, the planning can take place of how best to achieve that goal.

I would agree with this,step by step approach if we just sent a lander first and it was destroyed when it landed BOOM wasted money,wasted time.As you said map it out first.

Do you think the radiation or magnetic field from jupiter might make things harder?Im no expert on the issue but some things i have read in the past almost make sending anything electronic their impossible.

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Posted (edited)

Do you think the radiation or magnetic field from jupiter might make things harder?Im no expert on the issue but some things i have read in the past almost make sending anything electronic their impossible.

It doesn't make things easy, but the Galileo probe survived nearly 8 years in orbit around Jupiter, so it is well within our abilities.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
I kant spel
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Posted (edited)

Going back to the Op, it says:

"Scientists would like to send a lander down to sample surface regions where water wells up through the icy crust. These areas could allow a robotic probe to sample a proxy for ocean water that lies several kilometres deep".

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-21341176

I guess if it does well up, and we will only know from fly-bys or orbital probes/satellites etc, that there is a small chance we could just do a scoop and analyze it. But its a big IF I can appreciate

typos

.

Edited by seeder

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A thermonuclear device that goes into meltdown when it hits the surface and melts it's way to the water below.

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A thermonuclear device that goes into meltdown when it hits the surface and melts it's way to the water below.

Ignoring the fact that nuclear weapons in space are banned by international law.

You would send a scientific mission to another world, but nuke the surface first?

Do you not think that totally annihilating the very environment you want to explore BEFORE you even land might just reduce the scientific returns of the mission to zero? Would this not make the entire mission pointless?

Here's an idea, map the surface and land where there are no ice blades?

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