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Thread: Europa Clipper mission.

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    Europa Clipper mission.

    Not seen a thread dedicated to this mission. Kicking it off by an article from Van Kane in The Planetary Society site. He covers in it all the suite of instruments on the mission.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest...or-europa.html

    What would ultimately define the mission, though, would be the suite of instruments NASA’s managers choose. Designing instruments that can withstand the radiation has proven difficult. NASA’s managers could have decided on a minimal instrument suite to reduce mission costs and risks, in effect to fly an economy class mission to Europa.

    As we learned last week (see here), however, they announced the selection of a rich instrument suite that will make this a first-class voyage. Not only is the list long—and includes everything on that original desired list—the instruments individually look to be highly capable. The resulting mission promises to be incredible.

    NASA’s announcement was widely reported on and by now I expect that many of you have seen the instrument list. In this blog post, I’ll discuss how these instruments will work together to reveal Europa’s secrets. NASA did little more than announce the names of the instruments and said little about their capabilities. (This is standard; we usually learn the details about the instruments in the next year or two as their science team discuss them at scientific conferences.) Where possible, I’ve expanded upon the brief list of instruments with previously published information or from information published since NASA’s announcement. I’ve also provided comparisons with the instrument suite for the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) mission, which will briefly study Europa but focus on the neighboring moon Ganymede and Jupiter itself.

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    I'm very excited about this, one of the planetary scientists involved in the mission design was in-residence at BU for a few months and talked to our astronomy club about their proposals.

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    Even though I was on one of the successful proposals, I would disagree with the viewpoint that this was a "rich" suite vs a "minimal" one.

    I've seen the NASA selection document and it was clear that some more capable instruments were not selected in favor of a minimalist (and cheaper) approach.

    Karl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Even though I was on one of the successful proposals, I would disagree with the viewpoint that this was a "rich" suite vs a "minimal" one.

    I've seen the NASA selection document and it was clear that some more capable instruments were not selected in favor of a minimalist (and cheaper) approach.

    Karl
    Congratulations, to you and the team you are in, on being chosen to provide one of the instruments for this mission.

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    Planetary scientists are going to come to love SLS. This ride would shave transit time--lengthen missions, allow a larger spacecraft, etc.

    Larger iterations like the Block 2 will allow for landers I hope.

    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/...oposed-europa/

    "it has been noted there is now “frequent communication” between the Europa office at JPL and the SLS Program Office, with an exchange of data, analysis results and engineering computer models between the two organizations."

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Planetary scientists are going to come to love SLS.
    They will only love it if they don't have to pay for it.

    This has been discussed in the back halls for years, it is an excellent way to show off a big rocket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Even though I was on one of the successful proposals, I would disagree with the viewpoint that this was a "rich" suite vs a "minimal" one.

    I've seen the NASA selection document and it was clear that some more capable instruments were not selected in favor of a minimalist (and cheaper) approach.

    Karl
    Business class then.

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    Last week, a team of scientists and engineers for NASA's planned mission to Europa met for the first time at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to begin turning that goal, to investigate whether Jupiter's moon Europa could harbor primitive life under its icy shell, into reality.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NA..._Time_999.html

    The top priority for the mission's first meeting was to begin the work of refining the mission's science, especially with regard to how the instruments can best work together to achieve NASA's main objective for Europa. "Your instruments were each selected separately," said Pappalardo, "But now we want to understand how they can best work together to achieve the overarching goal, which is to investigate the habitability of this icy ocean moon."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    They will only love it if they don't have to pay for it.

    This has been discussed in the back halls for years, it is an excellent way to show off a big rocket.
    A question I'd like to ask the Europa clipper community. The standard way to get Clipper to Europa is a by launching atop standard EELVs--forcing a Cassini style looping trajectory for gravity assists.

    Well--we saw what the anti-nukes did with that one--and that was before Fukushima!

    Block one SLS means you won't have that to worry about at least. Direct launch.

    ************************************************** *******************************

    But let us say that the anti-nukes don't make a stench allowing JPL to use both the Block one SLS AND the multiple gravity assist.

    How large could you make Clipper then? How many extra instruments?

    I'd love Clipper to be Europa's ENVISAT

    Maybe a lander even?
    Last edited by publiusr; 2015-Aug-15 at 08:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    ... Maybe a lander even?
    Everything I've read about this says no lander. Maybe in a couple decades. (We'd all love to get the surface images & science now, but it isn't happening)
    You could do a direct launch using something like the Dawn Mission, only bigger. A Giant rocket like SLS or Falcon XX Heavy is not required.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    No but if it is there, you might as well use it. JIMO looked to be on the edge of what Delta IV could do. Now you can send it on its way more quickly.

    http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/jimo/mission_launch.cfm

    "As the mission is currently proposed, a heavy lift launch vehicle would lift the spacecraft into high Earth orbit. The ion-propulsion thrusters would spiral the spacecraft away from Earth and then on its trip to Jupiter."

    I can see this payload accelerated by a large upper stage: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/...onal-payloads/

    This combo allows the standard liquid fuel rocket to get your nuclear DAWN out of Earth Moon--and spend all the rest of its propellant in the outer solar system to slow down--change targets--or leave our Solar System at higher speeds
    Last edited by publiusr; 2015-Aug-15 at 08:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    No but if it is there, you might as well use it. ...
    Sure, barring budget or availability issues.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    A question I'd like to ask the Europa clipper community. The standard way to get Clipper to Europa is a by launching atop standard EELVs--forcing a Cassini style looping trajectory for gravity assists.

    Well--we saw what the anti-nukes did with that one--and that was before Fukushima!

    Block one SLS means you won't have that to worry about at least. Direct launch.
    Baseline mission is solar power, so multiple flybys are not an issue. The direct ascent trajectory saves about 3 years off of the flight time of a VEEGA trajectory. One question is the qualification status of the SLS. Also remember that the mission design was targeted at meeting a cost cap and the changes you mention below will break it bigtime.

    ************************************************** *******************************

    But let us say that the anti-nukes don't make a stench allowing JPL to use both the Block one SLS AND the multiple gravity assist.

    How large could you make Clipper then? How many extra instruments?

    I'd love Clipper to be Europa's ENVISAT

    Maybe a lander even?
    Stay tuned, this mission is being not being directed by a PI, it is under the control of NASA HQ. Any augmentations would have to be decided early next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    Everything I've read about this says no lander. Maybe in a couple decades. (We'd all love to get the surface images & science now, but it isn't happening)
    You could do a direct launch using something like the Dawn Mission, only bigger. A Giant rocket like SLS or Falcon XX Heavy is not required.
    You got your wish and there is a lander. There is also more good news. After congress gave more money, the Europeans want to join the mission. Not for a free ride, but bringing with them a pot of money - up to 500 million euros, or nearly $550 million.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/01/05...ion-to-europa/

    As NASA quietly works on a lander that could accompany a $2 billion flyby probe to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, the head of the European Space Agency’s science program tells Spaceflight Now that Europe is ready to play a significant role in the project.

    The goals of the ESA contribution would be decided by European scientists, but the agency has the funding for a piggyback probe costing up to 500 million euros, or nearly $550 million, according to Alvaro Gimenez, ESA’s director of science and robotic exploration.

    NASA asked the European Space Agency last year whether it was interested in contributing to the Europa mission, and Gimenez said in an interview with Spaceflight Now that the answer is yes.

    “We will participate with no cost to NASA by us contributing something equivalent to a half-billion euros in cost to ESA,” Gimenez said. “Now, where it goes depends on the cooperation.

    “This is a NASA mission, and we are happy to be a junior partner with NASA,” Gimenez told Spaceflight Now in December. “It’s our natural partnership with the U.S., and we will be very happy to do it. Now, they have to tell us the profile of the mission, what they want to do, and where do we have a role. But certainly we would appreciate the opportunity.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    You got your wish and there is a lander. There is also more good news. After congress gave more money, the Europeans want to join the mission. Not for a free ride, but bringing with them a pot of money - up to 500 million euros, or nearly $550 million.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/01/05...ion-to-europa/
    Wow, awesome!

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    Good Times.

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    Here is one the proposals ESA's is studying. They want to use a javelin to spear the plant

    http://www.popsci.com/european-scien...llet-at-europa

    According to Greek mythology, when Zeus fell in love with the Phoenician princess Europa, he gave her three gifts--one of them was a javelin that would always hit its target. That's why a team of 80 scientists has named their proposal to throw a projectile at the Jupiter's moon Europa "Akon", the ancient Greek word for javelin. (No relation to the rapper Akon.)

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    It might be two launches after all:
    http://www.space.com/31826-nasa-euro...-launches.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    It might be two launches after all:
    More details in this weeks Space Review.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3025/1

    Early Europa plans called for an orbiter which would conduct surveys while making multiple flybys of the moon. Project officials were exploring potential options for launch aboard a variety of rockets. Then, the 2016 Consolidated Appropriation Act, the omnibus spending bill that funded the federal government for the current fiscal year, specified that the mission must “include an orbiter with a lander that will include competitively selected instruments.” Moreover, the act stated that NASA must “use the Space Launch System as the launch vehicle for the Jupiter Europa mission.”

    Following this mandate, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) expressed concern that NASA, directed to include a lander in the mission, did not have the resources to meet its target 2022 launch date.

    In response, the House Appropriations Committee’s commerce, justice, and science spending bill for fiscal year 2017 splits the mission through two launches: the orbiter in 2022 and the lander in 2024. According to the bill’s draft report, NASA will need to “ensure that future funding requests are consistent with achieving a Europa Orbiter launch no later than 2022 and a Europa Lander launch no later than 2024, pending final mission configuration.” NASA will also need to “submit long-term plans for maximizing the use of the SLS. NASA shall include the Europa Orbiter and Lander missions in this plan.”

    Though significant changes to this policy could occur as the fiscal year 2017 appropriations process continues, the possibility that two SLS launches will take place to support the Europa mission now appears likely.

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    I love it. Faster ride for Clipper--and a lander. When the data starts coming in--I wonder how many SLS bashers will apologize.

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    The project team thought they might have to drill to sample the water but Europa might be spewing it into its atmosphere.

    http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/09/...pa/#more-59497

    Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes.

    The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa’s ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.

    “Europa’s ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life in the solar system,” said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “These plumes, if they do indeed exist, may provide another way to sample Europa’s subsurface.”

    The plumes are estimated to rise about 125 miles (200 kilometers) before, presumably, raining material back down onto Europa’s surface. Europa has a huge global ocean containing twice as much water as Earth’s oceans, but it is protected by a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness. The plumes provide a tantalizing opportunity to gather samples originating from under the surface without having to land or drill through the ice.

    The team, led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore observed these finger-like projections while viewing Europa’s limb as the moon passed in front of Jupiter.

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    Europa mission has moved to preliminary design phase

    http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/mi...-design-phase/

    A NASA mission to investigate the habitability of Jupiter’s moon Europa, scheduled for launch in the 2020s, recently completed a major NASA review. NASA’s Europa multiple-flyby mission successfully completed its Key Decision Point-B review on February 15, allowing the mission to continue in its preliminary design phase, known as “Phase B”, beginning on February 27.

    During Phase A, 10 scientific instruments were selected to be developed to study Europa. The new mission phase is scheduled to continue through September 2018 and will result in a preliminary design of the spacecraft’s systems and subsystems. The testing of some of the spacecraft’s components, such as solar cells and science instrument detectors, began during Phase A and will continue into Phase B. During Phase B, subsystem vendors will be chosen as well as prototype elements of the science instruments. Spacecraft subassemblies will also be built and tested during this phase.

    The development of a NASA mission is divided into four phases. Missions must successfully demonstrate at each step that they have met NASA’s requirements to demonstrate readiness to move on to the next phase. Phase B includes preliminary design work, and Phases C and D include final design, spacecraft fabrication, assembly and testing, and launch.

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    Both SLS and gravity assists allow this craft to carry a lander after all. I wonder if that "Bee" sub satellite is included.

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    Surprised to read that NASA has just confirmed the mission name as Europa Clipper. Wonder how I got that name when I started this thread in June 2015!!!

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.p...s.xml&rst=6772

    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.

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    Not so good news on the lander. It has lost its champion in Congress.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019...-s-back-burner

    After years of being pushed by the U.S. Congress to follow the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft that will survey Jupiter’s frozen moon, with a lander, NASA has begun to push back. The agency disclosed today that the lander mission, if it happens, will now come no earlier than 2030, 5 years later than Congress mandated. And the agency will be challenged to meet the 2023 launch date set for the Clipper.

    Thanks to the watery ocean beneath its icy crust, Europa has loomed for several decades as a prime target in the search for life outside Earth. But unlike the $3 billion Europa Clipper, a flagship NASA mission under development that will conduct periodic flybys of the moon, the Europa lander has not been rated as a high-priority mission by planetary scientists. Instead, support for the lander was largely marshaled by former Representative John Culberson (R–TX), who, until his election defeat in 2018, led the U.S. House of Representatives spending panel that oversees NASA.
    Another article on the news.

    https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/n...and-schedules/

    [QUOTENASA’s Inspector General (IG) warned today that the current launch dates for two missions to study Jupiter’s moon Europa are unrealistic despite the large sums of money allocated by Congress. The Europa Clipper and Europa Lander missions are required by law to be launched in 2023 and 2025 on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), but that is unlikely to happen because of developmental and workforce challenges according to the IG report.][/QUOTE]
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2019-May-30 at 12:09 PM.
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    "Audit Throws Cold Water on Congress’ Europa Ambitions"

    https://www.aip.org/fyi/2019/audit-t...ropa-ambitions

    A new internal NASA audit criticizes the aggressive schedule Congress has mandated for the agency’s planned missions to Jupiter’s moon Europa, finding that the in-development Europa Clipper faces stark development challenges and plans for a lander are ‘not feasible.’ A separate external audit documents ongoing cost and schedule risks facing the flagship science missions in NASA’s development queue.
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    A lander can come later.

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    "Mission to Jupiter's icy moon confirmed"

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Mi...irmed_999.html

    An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission's next phase.

    The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire spacecraft and science payload.

    "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 Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

    "We are building upon the scientific insights received from the flagship Galileo and Cassini spacecraft and working to advance our understanding of our cosmic origin, and even life elsewhere."
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    Wow...

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019...cy-do-its-job/

    NASA's Inspector General has apparently had enough of meddling by Congress

    On Tuesday, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin wrote a rather extraordinary letter to the US senators who determine the budget for the space agency. In effect, the independent NASA official asked Congress to kindly not meddle in decisions that concern actual rocket science.

    The letter addressed which rocket NASA should use to launch its multibillion dollar mission to explore Jupiter's Moon Europa, an intriguing ice-encrusted world that likely harbors a vast ocean beneath the surface. NASA is readying a spacecraft, called the Europa Clipper, for a launch to the Jupiter system to meet a 2023 launch window.
    >
    >
    "NASAs renewed focus on returning humans to the Moon on an accelerated timetable means that an SLS will not be available to launch the Clipper mission to Europa before 2025 at the earliest," Martin wrote. "We urge Congress to consider removing the requirement that NASA launch the Europa Clipper on an SLS and allow the Agency to decide whether to use an SLS or a commercial vehicle based on cost, schedule, vehicle availability, and impact on science requirements."
    >

    "I will follow the law"

    What's remarkable about this letter is that Martin is essentially having to tell Congress to stay in its lane--Congress sets the budget for NASA, certainly, but actual rocket scientists should be deciding the best way for the agency to get its valuable payload safely to Jupiter, on time, for optimal science.
    >

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