NASA said that they think about how to send the unit to a satellite of Jupiter - Europe, which is the fourth largest moon, the largest planet in the solar system. One of the ideas is enclosed to send orbiter, which will make multiple flybys of the satellite and study it to find ice under the surface of the posterior probability of Europe Ocean.
In California, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, claim that the Office coordinated the project advance the orbital unit around Europe.
On the basis of an estimate of the project, the orbital drone can be launched in 2021 at a cost of about two billion dollars U.S. He will have to study the surface of Europe to prepare for the departure of the landing gear.
David Senske - project coordinator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory - says that the current science says: Europe may be one of the most suitable places for possible location on the Earth's life abroad. It is believed that, under a thick layer of ice that covers Europe, should be located ocean, the depth of which can be up to one hundred miles. In addition, the uneven structure of the ice indicates the activity of the inner layers and the presence of heat energy, which also speaks in favor of the possible presence of life.
The project was minimized due to the high cost
David Senske also claims that NASA has long been interested in the possibility of origin machine to Europe. However, a few years ago in the department announced a project mission Jupiter Europe Orbiter, whose tasks included the study of Europe and the volcanically active moon of Jupiter - Io. However, the project was curtailed due to too high costs, the price of which totaled U.S. $ 4.7 billion.
D. Senske said that agency was already stated that the concept of the project remains, though slash functionality and reduce the cost of the machine. NASA said earlier that the cost of the project will cut up to 2-billion. As reported in the department, equipment for departure to Europe are so expensive because of the satellite around the mark the largest radiological activity, and all the machines, sent there, we have to equip the highest radiation protection. Besides all this, the European ice is very thick, and scientific instruments, is located on the fixtures must be capable of ocean "consider" through the thickness of the ice.
Even with all this, Europe around the unit would work just fine for the last thirty days, and then another about a hundred-hundred ten days in advanced functionality.
"Orbital device could collect a huge amount of data about Europe, however, as it may be, the possibility of its incomparably lower in contrast to the lender. For example, we are unlikely to be able to accurately study the orbits of the chemical composition of the surface of Europe "- summed up David Senske.
Study and Research
First pictures from space are made in Europe were space stations - "Pioneer 10", "Pioneer 11", flying in 1973-1974. Around Jupiter the quality of these images was better than what were available telescopes of the period, but still they were vague and dull in comparison with the images later missions.
Thus, in March 1979 Europe with flight paths explored "Voyager 1" / maximum convergence was 732,000 miles, and in July - "Voyager 2" / 190 000 km /. Space devices transmit high-quality photographs of the satellite, and conducted a series of measurements. The theory about the existence of a liquid ocean on the satellite came thanks to information "Voyager."
The second in June 1994 a group of scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute, led by the Doyle Hall, found the presence of molecular oxygen in the atmosphere of Europe. Such a discovery was made with the space telescope "Hubble" Goddard spectrometer using high resolution image.
In the period 1999-2000 by Chandra observations were made of the Galilean satellites, which resulted in the discovery of X-ray radiation in Europe and Io, registered in 2002
Jupiter system investigated automatic probe "Galileo" from December 1995 to September 2003 from the thirty-five revolutions around Jupiter eleven devices were devoted to the study of Europe / closest approach was two hundred and one kilometer /. "Galileo" satellite is examined in detail, received the latest evidence in favor of the fact that the ocean there. In 2003, the "Galileo" was deliberately destroyed in Jupiter's atmosphere to the future of unmanaged devices from falling on Europe and brought to the satellite terrestrial microorganisms.
Kosmoapparat "New Horizons" in 2007, while flying on the way to Pluto around Jupiter, presented new pictures of Europa's surface.
At present, the system is approaching Jupiter "Juno", which was launched August 5, 2011 by NASA, but it will not thoroughly explore Europe, since the main purpose of his mission - is the polar regions of Jupiter. Scheduled release date of the device "Juno" into orbit in August 2016