What’s amazing about this number is that the White House proposed only $15 Million. What this tells us, is that the politicians in Washington are “Spaceward Ho!” And we couldn’t be more excited about this.
Imagine all the undiscovered, unpolluted, newly evolved fish to be caught!
Sadly, it takes time to get there, and the Europa mission will be sending robotic drillers to go miles down HARD ice to make that fishing hole. Alas, they won’t even put worms on their poles. They will be putting cameras on the hooks (and probably an LED light or two). AND, that several missions later. First, they need to map the icy moon. Maybe they should outsource this job to google.
Taken from space.com:
NASA appears to be zeroing in on a mission that would feature multiple flybys of Europa — perhaps something along the lines of the Europa Clipper, a concept being developed by agency scientists and engineers. Once in orbit around Jupiter, the Clipper would make 45 flybys of the 1,900-mile-wide (3,100 kilometers) Europa over the course of 3.5 years, as the concept is currently envisioned.
Europa is thought to possess an ocean of liquid water under its icy shell. During its many flybys, the Clipper would confirm and study that ocean, yielding insights about its depth, salinity and conductivity, among other characteristics.
The Clipper would also measure and map Europa’s ice shell, returning data that could be useful for a potential future mission to the moon’s surface.
“Sounding the ice shell would be key,” said David Senske of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Europa Clipper pre-project deputy project scientist.
“We have a preconceived notion of what a lander looks like,” Senske told Space.com in December at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. “What we find may not support our preconceived notion.”