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Europa Clipper mission considered

Posted on Saturday, 15 December, 2012 | Comment icon 5 comments

Image credit: NASA

A proposed $2 billion spacecraft would perform several flyovers of Jupiter's enigmatic ice-covered moon.

Europa has long been considered the most likely place in the solar system to find alien life. The surface is covered in a thick crust of intricately patterned ice and it is believed that deep below there could be a vast subsurface ocean of warm water. Reaching this ocean would be a tremendous challenge due to the depth of the ice however a mission to investigate the surface is something that has been contemplated for many years.

With a tentative schedule for a 2021 launch, the Clipper mission would fly close over the surface several times to give scientists a close-up view of Europa's icy shell and to identify possible landing sites for future missions.

"Though NASA is devoting many of its exploration resources to Mars these days, the agency still has its eye on an icy moon of Jupiter that may be capable of supporting life as we know it."

  View: Full article |  Source: Discovery News

  Discuss: View comments (5)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by highdesert50 on 15 December, 2012, 22:35
Exciting, but it would be more exciting to see the $2billion go towards an expedited manned landing and eventual settlement on Mars.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 December, 2012, 23:05
Exciting, but it would be more exciting to see the $2billion go towards an expedited manned landing and eventual settlement on Mars. I think it would be foolish putting all of NASA's eggs in one basket. NASA must continue to explore other worlds as well as Mars, just as they explored the solar system in the '60s and '70s whilst Apollo was ongoing.
Comment icon #3 Posted by boloqu on 16 December, 2012, 2:36
Listen some of us won't be alive to see this they talking about 2021 this should have been in the works then how long its going to take after that.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Majikwayz on 16 December, 2012, 3:46
I know how you feel, I Hope to see some of these things while I am still in this life...
Comment icon #5 Posted by Major Payne on 17 December, 2012, 3:11
The big question "are we alone in this universe" has been a driving force with NASA for many years. Mars and before that Venus were all predicted to have some sort of primitive life even up to the early 1950's. It seems the more knowledgeable we become of our solar system and the universe, the more "alone" we seem to be. NASA have said the search for life is the search for water. They believe that these moons (Europa and to a point Enceladus) may harness the precious liquid under the ice. After all these years NASA still amazes me.

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