View Full Version : Europa?

2003-Jul-19, 12:32 AM
What's the latest news on exploring Europa. I think this is the most exciting prospect for finding other life forms in this galaxy. Is there any new news?

2003-Jul-19, 05:21 AM
They are plans to arrive in Europa. But I don't remember when exactly! :-) I know one of the persons into this forum will be able to give more details about it! You can also check www.space.com or www.seti.org for further details.

Yeah, Europa is a posibility, but these are still suppositions. We won't know 'till arrive there.

2003-Jul-19, 05:57 AM

There were plans for a Europa Orbiter to be launched in 2006 or so, but they got abandoned by NASA in this years budget.

I tracked down this hopeful article, though: Europa Mission 2010 (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/europa-orbitor-00a1.html) - which says that they've merely put off the mission until 2010.

The possibility of life on Europa was so popularized by the movie 2010, you'd think NASA could PR the heck out of it and get some decent public backing to the mission. Strange we hear so little about it.

2003-Jul-19, 07:17 AM
Thanxs for the article/info. I'll check it out!

Yeah I get your point...

2003-Jul-19, 07:47 PM
The JIMO orbiter(i.e including 4 moons of jupiter besides europa) is planned to launch not before 2011:(
it's a subproject of project prometheus that introduces spacecrafts working on nucleur energy, this paves the way for a heavy loaded science equip board way beyond the boards we used to deal with on galeleo, cassini, even those on the recently launched triplet twoards MARS.
so the orbiter will be much more efficient(EUROPA deserves that) and with a faster pace on its way there.
Astrobiologists demanded a lander embedded with the orbiter, but the roof of expenses(and politics) didn't allow that to be considered. the orbiter will map the surface using advanced radars, and will analyse the very thin atmosphere..well that's as far as biology is concerned, besides learning about the magnetic sphere, and the magnetic interaction b/w jupiter and europa(tidal waves...).
u can watch a video of the orbiter at JIMO Orbiter Video (http://realserver1.jpl.nasa.gov:8080/ramgen/Video-Icy-Moon-Jupiter-030214.rm?mode=compact).

EUROPA is an enticing target for astrobiologists and is a prime candidate for hosting bacterial life beneath a speculated ocean at the level of (also anticipated) water vents at the buttom.
hope this does the trick brothers! :)

2003-Jul-22, 06:48 PM
I talked to the NASA team working on a future mission to Europa to see where things are at right now. Here's what they had to say:

Currently, NASA is planning a mission called the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, or JIMO, for launch no earlier than 2011. The JIMO mission is intended to orbit three planet-sized moons of Jupiter -- Callisto, Ganymede and Europa -- which may harbor vast oceans beneath their icy surfaces. The nuclear-powered JIMO mission would orbit each of these moons for extended periods and conduct extensive investigations of their makeup, their history and their potential for sustaining life.

The science goals of the JIMO mission are:

1. Scout the potential for sustaining life on these moons. This would include
determining whether the moons do indeed have subsurface oceans; mapping where
organic compounds and other chemicals of biological interest lie on the surface;
and determining the thicknesses of ice layers, with emphasis on locating potential
future landing sites.

2. Investigate the origin and evolution of these moons. This would include
determining their interior structures, surface features and surface compositions in
order to interpret their evolutionary histories (geology, geochemistry, geophysics)
and how this illuminated the understanding of the origin and evolution of the Earth.

3. Determine the radiation environments around these moons and the rates at which
the moons are weathered by material hitting their surfaces. Callisto, Ganymede
and Europa all orbit within the powerful magnetic environment that surrounds
Jupiter. They display varying effects from the natural radiation, charged particles
and dust within this environment. Understanding this environment has implications
for understanding whether life could have arisen on these distant moons.

NASA would choose the final suite of instruments through a competitive process open to proposals from scientists worldwide. Two highly probable ones are a radar instrument for mapping the thickness of surface ice and a laser instrument for mapping surface elevations. Others would likely include a camera, an infrared imager, a magnetometer, and instruments to study charged particles, atoms and dust that the spacecraft encounters near each moon.

There is a fact sheet on the JIMO mission at:

So, it sounds like Europa is still on NASA's radar. Very cool.

2003-Jul-27, 04:27 AM
Grooovy... B)

JIMO is now officially rated my third most anticipated planetary space probe (after Cassini and Pluto-Kuiper, in that order)

Okay, at the risk of straying into the plotline of the 2001 books, what do you think they'll find there? (A pity JIMO wouldn't arrive in 2010, but there you go... :( )


2003-Sep-17, 11:45 PM
I'm really looking forward to the Pluto/Kupier mission. I'd love to see pictures from way out at the border of the solar system!