By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration
Since its discovery in 1610, Europa - certainly one of Jupiter's 4 huge moons - has been an item of curiosity to astronomers and planetary scientists. a lot of this curiosity stems from observations made by way of NASA's Voyager and Galileo spacecraft and from Earth-based telescopes indicating that Europa's floor is sort of younger, with little or no proof of cratering, and made largely of water ice.
More lately, theoretical types of the jovian approach and Europa have recommended that tidal heating could have ended in the lifestyles of liquid water, and maybe an ocean, underneath Europa's floor. NASA's ongoing Galileo project has profoundly improved our knowing of Europa and the dynamics of the jovian approach, and should let us constrain theoretical versions of Europa's subsurface structure.
Meanwhile, because the time of the Voyagers, there was a revolution in our realizing of the bounds of lifestyles on the earth. lifestyles has been detected thriving in environments formerly regarded as untenable - round hydrothermal vent platforms at the seafloor, deep underground in basaltic rocks, and inside polar ice. in different places within the sunlight approach, together with on Europa, environments considered suitable with existence as we all know it on the earth are actually thought of attainable, or maybe possible. Spacecraft missions are being deliberate which may be able to proving their existence.
Against this history, the distance reports Board charged its Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) to accomplish a entire examine to evaluate present wisdom approximately Europa, define a technique for destiny spacecraft missions to Europa, and determine possibilities for complementary Earth-based reviews of Europa. (See the preface for a whole assertion of the charge.)
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Additional info for A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa
Anderson, “Sulfuric Acid and the Radiolytic Sulfur Cycle,” Science 286: 97, 1999. 23. B. McCord, G. P. W. Carlson, D. V. Johnson, W. K. D. Martin, A. A. C. Granahan, and the NIMS Team, “Salts on Europa’s Surface Detected by Galileo’s Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer,” Science 280: 1242, 1998. 24. G. Schubert, T. Spohn, and R. A. S. , University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1986, pages 224-292. 25. D. , “Europa’s Differentiated Internal Structure: Inferences from Two Galileo Encounters,” Science 276: 1236, 1997.
This view has, however, been challenged. 63 Nevertheless, it is still far from clear whether or not a europan ocean contains sufficient energy to support an origin of life. Moreover, if life did originate at some time, it is unclear if it survived to the present day. SUMMARY OF OPEN ISSUES REGARDING EUROPA The major outstanding questions about Europa that remain unanswered at the close of the Galileo Europa Mission are whether Europa has a liquid-water ocean beneath its icy surface and whether there is the potential for the existence of life there.
51. G. , “Europa and Callisto: Induced or Intrinsic Fields in a Periodically Varying Plasma Environment,” Journal of Geophysical Research, submitted 1998. 52. G. , “Europa and Callisto: Induced or Intrinsic Fields in a Periodically Varying Plasma Environment,” Journal of Geophysical Research, submitted 1998. 53. R. Woese, “Bacterial Evolution,” Microbiology Review 51: 221, 1987. 54. R. Pace, “A Molecular View of Microbial Diversity and the Biosphere,” Science 276: 734, 1997. 55. O. Stetter, “Hyperthermophilic Procaryotes,” FEMS Microbiology Review 18: 149, 1996.
A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa by National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration