Author Topic: Icy map to probe Europa's secrets  (Read 2455 times)

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Rick

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Icy map to probe Europa's secrets
« on: Mar 16, 2007, 17:12:59 »
Scientists have produced a global geological map of Jupiter's moon Europa, which has been proposed as a destination for a future space mission.

Interest in Europa has been fuelled by indications that a liquid water ocean lurks beneath its outer shell of ice.

The mapping effort will help build a geological history of the enigmatic moon and target future explorations.

More: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6454039.stm

Rick

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Jupiter in space agencies' sights
« Reply #1 on: Feb 19, 2009, 14:57:45 »
Nasa and the European Space Agency have decided to forge ahead with an ambitious plan to send a probe to the Jupiter system and its icy moon Europa.

The proposal could be the agencies' next "flagship" endeavour, to follow on from the successful Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturn system.

More: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7897585.stm

mickw

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Rare Arctic Springs Hold Clues to Jupiter's Moon Europa
« Reply #2 on: Mar 26, 2010, 08:37:40 »
Extraordinarily rare springs high above the rest of the world in the Arctic could serve as Earth's own little version of Europa, helping scientists picture what life might face on the mysterious Jovian moon.

Europa is covered with sulfur-rich materials concentrated along cracks and ridges on its icy surface, which could hold the only clues we currently have about the composition of its hidden underground ocean. These compounds in the ice might even contain organic material that migrated upward from the sea below.

"Europa's liquid water layer contains twice the volume of all the Earth's oceans combined, an enormous potentially habitable environment, not billions of years in the past but at the present day," said astrobiologist Damhnait Gleeson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

More:   Space.com
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mickw

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Jupiter Moon's Ice-Covered Ocean Is Rich in Oxygen
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 16:34:47 »
There may be enough oxygen in the waters of Jupiter's moon Europa to support millions of tons worth of fish, according to a new study. And while nobody is suggesting there might actually be fish on Europa, this finding suggests the Jovian satellite could be capable of supporting the kinds of life familiar to us here on Earth, if only in microbial form.

Europa, which is roughly the size of Earth's moon, is enveloped by a global ocean about 100 miles deep (160 km), with an icy crust that may be only a few miles thick. From what we know of Earth, where there is water, there is a chance at life, so for many years scientists have speculated that this Jovian moon could support extraterrestrials.

As we learned more about Jupiter's effect on its moons, the possibility for life on Europa grew even more likely. Studies showed the moon could have enough oxygen to support the kind of life we are most familiar with on Earth.

More:   Europa
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mickw

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Ambitious Mission Would Probe Depths of Jupiter’s Icy Moons
« Reply #4 on: Feb 08, 2011, 10:35:24 »
American and European scientists are firming up the details of an ambitious joint mission to Jupiter to explore oceans on the giant planet's icy moons.
The overarching theme of the Europa Jupiter System Mission, a combined effort by NASA and the European Space Agency, will be "the emergence of habitable worlds around gas giants," the two space agencies announced Friday (Feb. 4).
The proposed mission, if approved, would send orbiters to two of Jupiter's ocean-harboring moons. A NASA craft would head to Europa, while an ESA orbiter would circle the moon Ganymede, officials said.
"We've reached hands across the Atlantic to define a mission to Jupiter's water worlds," said Bob Pappalardo, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement. Pappalardo is the pre-project scientist for the Europa orbiter. "The Europa Jupiter System Mission will create a leap in scientific knowledge about the moons of Jupiter and their potential to harbor life."

More:   Jupiter Moons
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Rick

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If We Landed on Europa, What Would We Want to Know?
« Reply #5 on: Aug 08, 2013, 15:19:29 »
If We Landed on Europa, What Would We Want to Know?

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. Even in these fleeting, paparazzi-like encounters, scientists have seen a fractured, ice-covered world with tantalizing signs of a liquid water ocean under its surface. Such an environment could potentially be a hospitable home for microbial life. But what if we got to land on Europa's surface and conduct something along the lines of a more in-depth interview? What would scientists ask? A new study in the journal Astrobiology authored by a NASA-appointed science definition team lays out their consensus on the most important questions to address.

More: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-243

Rick

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Scientists Find Evidence of 'Diving' Tectonic Plates on Europa
« Reply #6 on: Sep 09, 2014, 10:02:29 »
Scientists Find Evidence of 'Diving' Tectonic Plates on Europa

Scientists have found evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter's moon Europa. This indicates the first sign of this type of surface-shifting geological activity on a world other than Earth.

Researchers have clear visual evidence of Europa's icy crust expanding. However, they could not find areas where the old crust was destroyed to make room for the new. While examining Europa images taken by NASA's Galileo orbiter in the early 2000s, planetary geologists Simon Kattenhorn, of the University of Idaho, Moscow, and Louise Prockter, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, discovered some unusual geological boundaries.

"We have been puzzled for years as to how all this new terrain could be formed, but we couldn't figure out how it was accommodated," said Prockter. "We finally think we've found the answer."

More here

Rick

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NASA Research Reveals Europa's Mystery Dark Material Could Be Sea Salt

NASA laboratory experiments suggest the dark material coating some geological features of Jupiter's moon Europa is likely sea salt from a subsurface ocean, discolored by exposure to radiation. The presence of sea salt on Europa's surface suggests the ocean is interacting with its rocky seafloor -- an important consideration in determining whether the icy moon could support life.

The study is accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters and is available online.

"We have many questions about Europa, the most important and most difficult to answer being is there life? Research like this is important because it focuses on questions we can definitively answer, like whether or not Europa is inhabitable," said Curt Niebur, Outer Planets Program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Once we have those answers, we can tackle the bigger question about life in the ocean beneath Europa's ice shell."

More: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4586

Rick

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NASA's Europa Mission Begins with Selection of Science Instruments
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2015, 08:40:43 »
NASA's Europa Mission Begins with Selection of Science Instruments

NASA has selected nine science instruments for a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, to investigate whether the mysterious icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

NASA's Galileo mission yielded strong evidence that Europa, about the size of Earth's moon, has an ocean beneath a frozen crust of unknown thickness. If proven to exist, this global ocean could have more than twice as much water as Earth. With abundant salt water, a rocky sea floor, and the energy and chemistry provided by tidal heating, Europa could be the best place in the solar system to look for present day life beyond our home planet.

"Europa has tantalized us with its enigmatic icy surface and evidence of a vast ocean, following the amazing data from 11 flybys of the Galileo spacecraft over a decade ago and recent Hubble observations suggesting plumes of water shooting out from the moon," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "We're excited about the potential of this new mission and these instruments to unravel the mysteries of Europa in our quest to find evidence of life beyond Earth."

More: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4598

Rick

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All Systems Go for NASA's Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa
« Reply #9 on: Jun 18, 2015, 12:49:40 »
All Systems Go for NASA's Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa

Beyond Earth, Jupiter's moon Europa is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of present-day life, and a new NASA mission to explore this potential is moving forward from concept review to development.

NASA's mission concept -- to conduct a detailed survey of Europa and investigate its habitability -- has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase known as formulation.

"Today we're taking an exciting step from concept to mission, in our quest to find signs of life beyond Earth," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Observations of Europa have provided us with tantalizing clues over the last two decades, and the time has come to seek answers to one of humanity's most profound questions."

More: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4627

Rick

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NASA Receives Science Report on Europa Lander Concept
« Reply #10 on: Feb 17, 2017, 09:42:48 »
NASA Receives Science Report on Europa Lander Concept

A report on the potential science value of a lander on the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa has been delivered to NASA, and the agency is now engaging the broader science community to open a discussion about its findings.

In early 2016, in response to a congressional directive, NASA's Planetary Science Division began a pre-Phase A study to assess the science value and engineering design of a future Europa lander mission. NASA routinely conducts such studies -- known as Science Definition Team (SDT) reports -- long before the beginning of any mission to gain an understanding of the challenges, feasibility and science value of the potential mission. In June 2016, NASA convened a 21-member team of scientists for the SDT. Since then, the team has deliberated to define a workable and worthy set of science objectives and measurements for the mission concept, submitting a report to NASA on Feb. 7.

More: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6737

Rick

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NASA's Europa Flyby Mission Moves into Design Phase
« Reply #11 on: Feb 25, 2017, 08:06:17 »
NASA's Europa Flyby Mission Moves into Design Phase

A mission to examine the habitability of Jupiter's ocean-bearing moon Europa is taking one step closer to the launchpad, with the recent completion of a major NASA review.

The Europa mission spacecraft is being planned for launch in the 2020s, arriving in the Jupiter system after a journey of several years. The spacecraft would orbit Jupiter as frequently as every two weeks, providing many opportunities for close flybys of Europa. The mission plan includes 40 to 45 flybys in the prime mission, during which the spacecraft would image the moon's icy surface at high resolution and investigate its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.

More: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6755

Rick

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NASA Mission Named 'Europa Clipper'
« Reply #12 on: Mar 24, 2017, 10:10:17 »
NASA Mission Named 'Europa Clipper'

NASA's upcoming mission to investigate the habitability of Jupiter's icy moon Europa now has a formal name: Europa Clipper.

The moniker harkens back to the clipper ships that sailed across the oceans of Earth in the 19th century. Clipper ships were streamlined, three-masted sailing vessels renowned for their grace and swiftness. These ships rapidly shuttled tea and other goods back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean and around the globe.

In the grand tradition of these classic ships, the Europa Clipper spacecraft would sail past Europa at a rapid cadence, as frequently as every two weeks, providing many opportunities to investigate the moon up close. The prime mission plan includes 40 to 45 flybys, during which the spacecraft would image the moon's icy surface at high resolution and investigate its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.

More: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6772