NASA plots daring flight to Jupiter's watery moon

March 4, 2014 by Seth Borenstein

NASA is plotting a daring robotic mission to Jupiter's watery moon Europa, a place where astronomers speculate there might be life.

The set aside $15 million in its 2015 to start planning some kind of mission to Europa. No details were released but NASA chief financial officer Elizabeth Robinson said Tuesday that it would be launched in the mid-2020s.

Astronomers have long lobbied for a mission to Europa, but it would cost billions of dollars.

Last year, scientists discovered liquid plumes of water shooting up through Europa's ice. Now think it will be cheaper to explore by flying through those watery jets than circling the moon.

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb said going to Europa would be more exciting than exploring dry Mars.

Explore further: Jupiter's Europa moon 'likeliest to have life'

Related Stories

Jupiter's Europa moon 'likeliest to have life'

February 17, 2013

US astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government's ...

Mapping the chemistry needed for life at Europa

April 5, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new paper led by a NASA researcher shows that hydrogen peroxide is abundant across much of the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. The authors argue that if the peroxide on the surface of Europa mixes into the ...

If we landed on Europa, what would we want to know?

August 7, 2013

(Phys.org) —Most of what scientists know of Jupiter's moon Europa they have gleaned from a dozen or so close flybys from NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1979 and NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the mid-to-late 1990s. Even in ...

Clay-like minerals found on icy crust of moon Europa

December 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo mission has revealed clay-type minerals at the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa that appear to have been delivered by a spectacular collision with an asteroid or ...

Recommended for you

Magnetized inflow accreting to center of Milky Way galaxy

August 17, 2018

Are magnetic fields an important guiding force for gas accreting to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) like the one that our Milky Way galaxy hosts? The role of magnetic fields in gas accretion is little understood, and trying ...

First science with ALMA's highest-frequency capabilities

August 17, 2018

The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos. This array of incredibly precise antennas studies a comparatively high-frequency sliver of radio light: ...

Another way for stellar-mass black holes to grow larger

August 17, 2018

A trio of researchers with The University of Hong Kong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan and Northwestern University in the U.S., has come up with an alternative theory to explain how some ...

Six things about Opportunity's recovery efforts

August 17, 2018

NASA's Opportunity rover has been silent since June 10, when a planet-encircling dust storm cut off solar power for the nearly-15-year-old rover. Now that scientists think the global dust storm is "decaying"—meaning more ...

Sprawling galaxy cluster found hiding in plain sight

August 16, 2018

MIT scientists have uncovered a sprawling new galaxy cluster hiding in plain sight. The cluster, which sits a mere 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is made up of hundreds of individual galaxies and surrounds an extremely ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Mar 05, 2014
Wow, if this one actually makes it past the initial planning stage, it's gonna make a lot of people happy (including me).

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.