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

New study details geological process behind Titan's dunes

May 23, 2018

Titan's windswept dunes may sprawl millions of more kilometers than previously thought and were likely formed by geological processes similar to those on Earth, according to a new study. The new findings could help scientists ...

Lightening up dark galaxies

May 23, 2018

Despite substantial progress over the past half-century in understanding how galaxies form, important open questions remain regarding how precisely the diffuse gas of the intergalactic medium is converted into stars. One ...

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.