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Thread: If they send a probe to Europa, how will they get throught the ice?

  1. #31
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    How about mother ship in orbit, rover on the surface capable of sending samples back to mother ship. Mother ships sends them back to Earth.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    How about mother ship in orbit, rover on the surface capable of sending samples back to mother ship. Mother ships sends them back to Earth.
    I think the easiest way to do sample return mission - flying through the plumes several times (like Stardust or Genesis do). This will safe the probe 3 km/s delta-v budget and we will be able to do with only ionic engines to enter orbit and return (and make probe less complicated).

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popularizer View Post
    I think the easiest way to do sample return mission - flying through the plumes several times (like Stardust or Genesis do). This will safe the probe 3 km/s delta-v budget and we will be able to do with only ionic engines to enter orbit and return (and make probe less complicated).
    I agree, but we're going to put a lander on the surface sooner or later. I hope there's a whole lot of rational people involved in that project.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popularizer View Post
    Energy production by chemical batterys is not enough - it's true. But for that we have nuclear power (like RTG) and we don't need to have power cables and pumps actually - when probe melting ice it will by descend under the influence of gravity and water above him will be freeze (and seale the cable on the ice) this will happen by itself. We need only tiny data cable for transmitting station on the surface. Probe must withstand pressure of 10+ km ice about him, but on such depth immersed even manned boats. I didn't consider the loss on heating of the external ice - but even with worst case, it's take around 12 years to melt all ice, and plutonium-238 gives us 87,7 years to reduce heat production in two times - quite enough to go trough the ice.
    You'd want to make sure that the signal cable doesn't get bound into the ice. If it does, the probe will just sit at one level, melting a big cavity.

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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    You'd want to make sure that the signal cable doesn't get bound into the ice. If it does, the probe will just sit at one level, melting a big cavity.
    The cable must be unwound from the drum incide the probe. And bound cable in ice - this is actually an advantage because the weight of the cable will rely on ice. The beauty of this construction in what the drum in probe - is the only one moving part we need to have in the melting process.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    You'd want to make sure that the signal cable doesn't get bound into the ice. If it does, the probe will just sit at one level, melting a big cavity.
    And this will take energy, 10-30 km of cable being heating continuously. Maybe we can send a Chernobyl with the lander...

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popularizer View Post
    The cable must be unwound from the drum incide the probe. And bound cable in ice - this is actually an advantage because the weight of the cable will rely on ice. The beauty of this construction in what the drum in probe - is the only one moving part we need to have in the melting process.
    One cryobot design published in 2001 mentions mini RF transmitters, dropped like breadcrumbs on the way down, to communicate with the surface. No cable to heat or carry down. Cryobot: an ice penetrating robotic vehicle for Mars and Europa. There’s plenty more on NTRS.
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  8. #38
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    I originally suggested a cable for a power supply that would remain on the surface.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    And this will take energy, 10-30 km of cable being heating continuously. Maybe we can send a Chernobyl with the lander...
    First transatlantic telegraph cable (more then 4000 km long) was establish in... 1858 year (when about nuclear power did not know). The electrical resistance drops with decrease in temperature, and for temperature of Europa surface (−160 C) we have superconductivity materials right now (with no resistance at all). Maybe in the future we can make cable with no resistance for a half way (temperature will rise with descend and superconductivity will be lose). But the resistance is not so important - we can take a very weak signal, for which there will be enough transmitter with power on several watt.

    But RF transmitters have reason for existance - the cable can break off when the ice layers shift, and transmitters should be more reliable way of data transmission.

  10. #40
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    I certainly hope the invasive probes come after we learn how to invade without destroying.

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