In NASA began to discuss the mission to Europe, the satellite of Jupiter




europa -lander

We already wrote about the grand plans of space agency NASA for the development of the solar system, one of the points which is the study of eternal ice of the world, which is slightly less than the size of our moon. We are talking about Europe – one of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, open Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei back in 1610.

The temperature on the surface of this natural satellite never rises above -160 degrees Celsius, but many scientists around the world believe that Europe is probably the best candidate in our system for the possible existence of life on it, but rather under its icy crust, where According to the researchers, there is a liquid ocean of salt water. NASA believes that the best way to explore this mysterious world will be sending a robot to Europe, and so recently discussed some ideas about how it is to crank.


Future robotic explorer Europe might look like this

Like any robot, whose task is to study extraterrestrial space, the future European research robot will be equipped with a set of various sensors and laboratory equipment. However, the choice of equipment in any case depends on the fact that researchers eventually want to detect. Therefore, in this case, each choice of a particular instrument will be for scientists entire headache, because it is through them, the robot will be able to answer questions about Europe and to give information about what had up to that point was not known to mankind.


Full disk Europe, from a distance of 2 million kilometers research apparatus “Voyager 1” in 1979

Overall, NASA has placed three priority areas for further work on Europe: detection of minerals and traces of organic life on the satellite and the study and geophysical analysis of ice, and the ocean that is under it, the definition of the geological environment (including as it has evolved ) for theoretical stay on her person. In other words, NASA is going to do research on the energy, chemical, and water features of Europe, the fundamental components necessary for life. A more detailed discussion of these problems and their solutions are described space agency in the scientific journal Astrobiology.


Zoom display cracks and ridges on the surface of Europa, captured space research unit “Galileo” in 1997

One of the most important tasks of the mission of sending to Europe robot will study its faults. Scientists believe that they were formed by the tidal forces of the underwater ocean caused by the influence of gravitational effects of Jupiter at the time when the satellite passes at a short distance from the gas giant. In NASA suggest that the impact of these forces in the ocean can generate heat, which is necessary for the survival of simple organisms there. These faults may just contain traces of biological life.


The surface of Europa may hide many dangers

If you think that in this age of technology sending another robot into space is a piece of cake – leave this youthful maximalism. For example, the first NASA will do a huge amount of work on the study and selection of potential areas for planting. The surface of the satellite’s definitely hiding many secrets about which we have yet to learn. And to know them more desirable before the probe is sent just drown or freeze to death in the eternal ice of Europe. After all, almost all modern knowledge of it is based only on the early flying past her, “Voyager” and “Galileo” another 70’s and 90’s of last century.

“Until landing at Europe we have to do a huge amount of training, but studies such as this, our attention was concentrated on the technology that would allow the landing as a result of this exercise. Now on the agenda is the search for potential landing sites for a sent a robot on the surface of Europa, “- says Robert Pappalardo of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the author of the study.

“Europe is probably the best candidate (not including our Earth, of course) in our solar system to the possible existence of life on it now. And landing on its surface, without any doubt, is the best way to check it. ”

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