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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old February 19 2009, 05:21 AM   #1
Zulu Romeo
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All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Enceladus)

NASA and ESA to attempt unmanned missions and perhaps landing there

Nasa and the European Space Agency have decided to forge ahead with an ambitious plan to send a probe to the Jupiter system and its icy moon Europa.

The proposal could be the agencies' next "flagship" endeavour, to follow on from the successful Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturn system.

Officials had been considering the Jupiter mission along with a venture to Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus.

But they will target an earlier flight opportunity for the Europa mission.

A Saturnian return will have to wait until later in the century, agency chiefs say.

The missions would cost several billion dollars/euros to build and execute and might never fly if other future space endeavours become higher research priorities.
The romantic in me (as well as the "Man of Science" inside me working out a way to get out) has always been fascinated by having colonies set up on Europa and Enceladus one day, in the far future. Whether it's worth the cost of sending yet another robot creature into space to invade other worlds and search for signs of non-terrestrial life is always up for debate. Or maybe we should look towards getting our own asses to Mars first?
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Old February 23 2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Well if liquid water is found on one or both moons, it would be a big boost to finding life within the solar system, and outside it. This would be a HUGE discovery, even if the life on Europa and Enceladus is single-celled or bacteria.
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Old February 23 2009, 08:43 PM   #3
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Great news. I've been a supporter of a mission to Europa for a long time. If there is (as it seems possible) an ocean of water under the frozen surface, it would be a good idea to go and take a look.
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Old February 24 2009, 06:52 PM   #4
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

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Old February 24 2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Radiation is too great for humans at Europa.

Or most of Jupiters moons
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Old February 25 2009, 04:16 PM   #6
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Was anybody mentioning a human mission?
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Old February 25 2009, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Forbin wrote: View Post
Was anybody mentioning a human mission?
"colonies set up on Europa and Enceladus" implied human missions to me.
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Old February 26 2009, 03:00 AM   #8
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Eh, keeping radiation out is only one of the many problems with colonization. It hardly seems the most immediate.
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Old February 26 2009, 03:37 AM   #9
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

This is very cool news.
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Old February 26 2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
Forbin wrote: View Post
Was anybody mentioning a human mission?
"colonies set up on Europa and Enceladus" implied human missions to me.
Oops - missed that line.
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Old February 27 2009, 04:53 AM   #11
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Re: All these worlds are yours... including Europa (and perhaps Encela

The biggest worry with a probe to look for life under Europa's ice would be trying to prevent cross-contamination by Earth microbes that may hitch a ride of the probe - we just don't have a way yet to sterilize every single component with a 100% guarantee it will be absoulutly free of *anything* potentially living.

(Preventing potential cross-contamination of the Jovian moons by Earth-life is a real concern for NASA - it's a major reason they decided to crash Galileo into Jupiter: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/...in574222.shtml )

It's the same problem that has kept scientists from probing lake Vostok on Earth yet, even though - much like Europe - we really think there could be life in the water under the ice. ( http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...tic_lakes.html )

We just don't have the technology yet to ensure that absolutely *nothing* from Earth isn't hitchhiking on a probe - life's just too damn tenacious, it just somehow always...finds a way.
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