NASA Seeks $30 Million for Jupiter Moon ‘Europa’ Probe Mission in 2020s

Europa. [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute]

Europa. [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute]

As Arthur C. Clarke once speculated that the moon is the best bet to find extra-terrestrial or alien life in the space, so is NASA preparing to send a mission not only to the Earth’s moon but also to Jupiter moon — Europa once the funds squeeze by the US Congress loosen purse strings.

Earlier it was merely a concept but now NASA is ready to go further to launch a probe mission to Europa. “Today we’re taking an exciting step from concept to mission, in our quest to find signs of life beyond Earth,” thumped NASA official John Grunsfeld.

He pointed out that the findings from Europa have given some tentalizing clues to seek whether habitable conditions do exist there which means UFO enthusiasts will soon seek more answers as to what they have found and why they are secretive about it.

To be a reality in less than 10 years, the US space agency’s scientists are busy to develop instruments to find out why a relatively warm ocean covered with ice crust on Europa help in future energy needs of deep sea exploration missions. NASA is planning a mission similar to Dawn that has been orbiting the asteroid Ceres.

The Europa probe is scheduled to undertake looping orbits around the Jupiter’s moon within 16 miles (25 kilometers) to 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) distance to observe the surface with the help of cameras, spectrometers, ice-penetrating radars, ocean measuring devices and a magnetometer to find out the salinity and the depth of the mysterious river on Europa.

But owing to US Congress budget cut of $300 million this month, NASA is bending backwards to seek a sliced down budget of $30 million in 2016 to begin the probe preparations, saying it amounts to just flying a B-2 bomber for 250 hours.

However, the final cost of the project could be much more and the US lawmakers may insist on the final financial picture before giving in to the agency’s request. NASA is arguing that Europa has the potential to be a filling station fro energy needs of long-term space exploration missions, if explored scientifically.


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