View Full Version : Testing a Europa Probe Prototype

2008-Feb-09, 09:00 AM
While NASA doesnít have any definite plans to send a probe to study Jupiterís moon Europa, many planetary scientists consider the exploration of this enticing moon to be a high priority. Evidence from the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft suggests Europa contains a deep ocean of salty water under an icy outer shell. [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/02/09/testing-a-europa-probe-prototype/)

Lil Grasshoppah
2008-Feb-09, 01:07 PM
Environmentally Non-Disturbing Under-ice Robotic Antarctic Explorer, also known as Endurance
It's always amusing to see the efforts scientists will go to give their projects pronounceable acronyms. In my astrobiology class, we designed a rover that was fictional, although plausible (designed based on existing technology) called the Mars Underground Life Detection and Extraction Rover - Mulder.

And before a probe would be sent to land on Europa, many scientists feel that an orbiting spacecraft would be the best way to study the moon.
I'm not sure why this is even an issue. It would be an insane risk (on an already risky, but worthwhile venture) to land anything before we get an orbiter. The various Mars orbiters have shown us the incredible value of getting high res imaging detail from orbit.

I do like the hot water "drill," concept. Instead of the risks of standard drilling, at least one hot drill plan just heats up the ice below it and sinks the entire lander, unreeling cables (attached to a communications rig that stays on the surface) as it sinks and letting the water freeze again over its head. That's another reason we need an orbiter, though - we need to know how much cable is necessary. No use drilling in 2km of ice with a 500m cable!

-Scott G