On to Europa!

Artist concept of Europa observer

Artist concept of Europa observer

NASA continues to deliver good science and great decisions! After extensive review of competing proposals,  the selection committee decided that the next Outer Planets mission would focus on the potentially life-bearing moon, Europa. I was happy that they chose Europa as the Great Cassini has (and continues) to deliver tons of data on Titan. Let’s show some love for some other planets!

The new orbiter is expected to launch in 2020 (perfect timing with our expected return to the Moon, if all goes well with the Constellation program). It will arrive in 2025 and study both Jupiter and Europa over a period of 4 years. Other highlights would include flybys of Io, Ganymede, and Callisto.

This will be the second extensive exploration of the Jovian system since Galileo ended its eight year mission by plunging into Jupiter’s atmosphere in 2003. The Juno mission (which is being run out of my new hometown’s Marshall Space Flight Center) will launch in two years with a goal of studying our resident gas giant in detail.

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About Geordi Calrissian

African American? Check. Nerd cred? Check. Star Trek? Check. Star Wars? Check. What else is there?

Posted on February 20, 2009, in space and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Glad it’s a go, I’ve always liked Europa. BTW, I’m diggin’ the new theme.

  2. I JUST WANTED TO KNOW IF YOU CONSIDER EUROPA,IO,TITAN,AND ENCELADUS PLANETS THEY ARE’NT PLANETS YET ,BUT I BELIEVE THAT THE FUTURE MAY MAKE EARTHLIKE SATTELITES,LOOK LIKE PLANETS, BY TERRA FORMING ,OR IN OTHER WORDS SEEDING THE MOONS LAND MASSES. IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE OTHER OPTIONS FOR FUTURE ,BUT I DO’NT SEE THAT IN VIEW. I THINK THAT IF WE ARE SENDING OUT PROBES TO MAKE DISCOVERIES,WE SHOULD CONSIDER SEEDING SOME OF THOSE MOONS,BY PROGRAMMING THE PROBES THAT ARE ACTUALLY LANDING ON THE MOONS. I THINK THAT IT BY EQUIPPING OUR PROBES,ROVERS WITH SOME SORT OF MINITURE DRILLING MACHINES AS WELL AS EQUIPPING THEM WITH SOLAR PANELS,FOR POWERING THAT EQUIPMENT. IT WOULD BE A EXPERIMENT OF COURSE,BUT WE WOULD STILL HAVE THE MEANS OF OBSERVING THE RESULTS THROUGH VIDEO INSTALLED ON THE PROBES/ROVERS,AND JUST MONITOR THE PROGRESS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY WE ARE FAMILIAR WITH,THEN WE WOULD’NT HAVE TO TAKE A MANNED FLIGHT THERE UNTIL WE SEE THAT THE RESULTS ARE CLEAR AND ARE INTANGIBLY WORKING,THE GROWTH OF PLANKTON COULD BE THE FIRST TEST. THEN PLACING FERTILIZED EGGS IN THE LIQUID WATER,AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH THOSE BUILDERS. THEY MAY DIE ,BUT THEN AGAIN THEY MAY THRIVE ,AND WE’D HAVE A SOURCE OF FOOD,IF EVER WE WERE TO VISIT THOSE MOONS. THAT WOULD ALLOW TIME TO POPULATE THE WATERS,IF THEY ARE’NT ALREADY. THERE ARE ALWAYS RISKS,BUT IT WOULDN’T BE HUMAN LIVES AT STAKE.

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