What lies beneath Europa's icy crust ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL
The space agency is believed to be planning an ambitious mission to explore Jupiter's icy moon.
Europa has been of great interest to scientists due to its status as the single most likely place in the solar system to find life outside the Earth, an accolade made possible thanks to its icy shell encasing what many believe to be a deep ocean of warm liquid water.
While several spacecraft have flown past Europa to take pictures, none have been sent to investigate it directly. Astronomers have long been pressuring NASA to design a mission with this in mind and now it seems like it might actually be happening.
$15 million has been assigned from NASA's 2015 budget to plan an ambitious mission to visit the Jovian moon and discover as much as possible about it. Several different ideas for a spacecraft have been proposed including one that would be designed to fly through and sample the jets of liquid water recently discovered to be erupting from deep below the ice.
If all goes to plan the mission could launch sometime in the mid-2020s.
Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (9)