Jupiter Moon Europa NASA Mission: Rover To Probe Europa For Life And Potential Human Habitation

By Danny Choy on August 8, 2013 6:16 PM EDT

Jupiter's moon Europa
NASA aims to send a probe to Jupiter's moon Europa. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Jupiter's moon Europa was first examined by the Voyager mission in 1979, followed by Galileo in the 1990s. Now, NASA strongly believes Jupiter's moon Europa has the characteristics necessary to support life. The U.S. space program has commissioned a team of scientists to develop a spacecraft in order to explore the alien moon's icy terrain to find the answer to that question.

Like Us on Facebook

According to a peer-reviewed astrobiology journal, the ambitious mission to Jupiter's moon Europa is made up of three goals. First, the probe must investigate Europa's none-ice composition, including salts, organic materials, and various debris.

Next, the probe will collect data to produce a geophyiscal mapping of the moon Europa. The mapping will identify the moon's ice shell and ocean by conducting seismology and magnetometry surveys.

Finally, scientists aim to discover Europa's habitability for mankind.

"Landing on Europa and touching its surface is a visionary goal of planetary science," claims Dr. Robert Pappalardo of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

However, reaching Jupiter's sixth closest satellite is not as easy as strapping a rover to a pair of rockets. Technological breakthroughs necessary to reach the fifth planet in our solar system may still be years away.

"Understanding the key scientific questions to be addressed by a future Europa lander helps us to focus on the technologies required to get us there," said Pappalardo.

What's more, we must believe that the endeavor is worth it. According to Daily Mail in March, scientists discovered salty water from Europa's enormous liquid ocean reached the moon's surface. Research suggests the chemical exchange between ocean and surface makes the ocean an environment rich with chemical activity.

Professor Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, an exchange between the ocean and the moon's surface suggests that energy might be going into the ocean, an important variable in the possibility for life. In fact, some scientists also believe the composition of Europa's ocean may closely resemble the salty ocean of our Earth.

The report was compiled by Professor Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and Kevin Hand from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasaden.

Beyond Jupiter's planet Europa, scientists believe that Saturn's moon Encelade may be habitable as well.

The fascinating report on Europa was compiled by Professor Mike Brown along with Kevin Hand from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)