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Space & Astronomy

Europa Clipper mission gets the go-ahead

By T.K. Randall
August 20, 2019 · Comment icon 7 comments



Could life exist in Europa's subsurface ocean ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An ambitious endeavour to unlock the mysteries of Jupiter's moon Europa is finally moving ahead.
When it comes to seeking out signs of extraterrestrial life within our own solar system, no target has proven more tantalizing than Europa - a world thought to be home to a potentially habitable ocean of liquid water hidden deep underneath a thick icy exterior shell.

With this in mind, NASA's long-planned Europa Clipper mission has now passed its most crucial milestone yet, meaning that the final design and construction of the spacecraft can finally begin.

"We are all excited about the decision that moves the Europa Clipper mission one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world," said NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen.

The mission, which is scheduled for launch in 2025, has been in the planning stages for years.
Designed to investigate Europa's mysterious ocean, the spacecraft will be equipped with nine science instruments including an ice-penetrating radar to measure the thickness of the ice.

It will also be brimming with cameras to capture the clearest views yet of Jupiter's icy moon.

"This is a big deal," wrote The Planetary Society's Casey Dreier.

"It has taken decades to reach this point."



Source: BBC News | Comments (7)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Nnicolette 3 years ago
Yay! Of all the places outside of earth europa is the one that i look at and think there is definitely life there! Something about the shade and manner of the deposits on the ice and the similarity to earth just scream it to me... But in a subtle way I can't elaborate. I wonder if it looks anything like the underside of ice shelves here.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
I hope Arthur C. Clarke is proven right, and we do find indisputable evidence of life on Europa. It sure does look like a living planet...  
Comment icon #3 Posted by toast 3 years ago
1:4:9
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 3 years ago
In what way? (Ignoring the fact that it is not a planet) all we really know about Europa is that it has a frozen surface and a probable liquid water ocean underneath. Whilst that makes it a good place to look for life there is absolutely zero evidence that life exists there. How does that make it look like a living world? 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nnicolette 3 years ago
For one there is some sort of process going on underneath to keep dusting the ice with residue. Maybe even pedoturbation would explain the trails. Just the fact that there is an iron core and a deep salty ocean on top with enough pressures to warm it to liquid and blow out plumes is interesting. Then you have an atmosphere thats primarily oxygen, and the fact that the temperature doesnt vary much between day and night. We have a very similar composition to earth... I mean isn't it obvious?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 3 years ago
Well someone has been using Google to post facts they don't understand.  "Some sort of process" is the key phrase here because it constitutes evidence of geological activity not biological.  Pedoturbation is a process which generates soil by geological activity and so is not evidence of life. Interesting yes. Evidence for life... no. Which is evidence for life how? Earth's atmosphere is primarily nitrogen. Further more the atmosphere of Europa is extremely tenuous. Even worse for your case the origin of Europa's atmosphere is known: Source: Wikipedia And that is evidence for the existence of l... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Nnicolette 3 years ago
Geological activity? Im guessing you dont know your latin. "Ped" means foot. And pedoturbation is the process of animals walking and turning the dirt.  I listed a random possibility that they are trails of some sort. Also this is UM nobody poated that on Google i only said it here, perhaps if they had u might have understood what it meant. Also the word "maybe" means i see it as a remote possibility, not that it is a fact on google. I am aware that the primarily oxygen atmosphere is thin... And? You say you know how it was made? Interesting please share with the rest of the world. Also you rea... [More]


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