Scientists are weighing up what questions a future mission to Jupiter's icy moon would need to answer.
A freezing world with a vast liquid water ocean, Europa is still the single most likely place to find alien life within our solar system. While photographs have been available for some time thanks to passing spacecraft such as Voyager 2 and Galileo, to date we have yet to send a probe to land on its surface. In preparation for such a mission, scientists have been looking in to the most pressing questions that they would want answered in the event that we were to attempt it.
"There is still a lot of preparation that is needed before we could land on Europa, but studies like these will help us focus on the technologies required to get us there, and on the data needed to help us scout out possible landing locations," said lead study author Robert Pappalardo.
"Most of what scientists know of Jupiter's moon Europa they have gleaned from a dozen or so close flybys from NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1979 and NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the mid-to-late 1990s."
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