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NASA Europa Missions, projects and proposals for the 2020s
nprev
post Mar 17 2017, 01:35 AM
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Explorer1
post Mar 17 2017, 04:57 AM
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There's not much news here in terms of the lander component anyway, since there's always negotiation before any proposed budget actually passes. The Planetary Society has a good overview. In the meantime, we can discuss other details...
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JRehling
post Mar 18 2017, 04:06 PM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Mar 16 2017, 09:57 PM) *
There's not much news here in terms of the lander component anyway, since there's always negotiation before any proposed budget actually passes.


Agreed. The last launch for a Jupiter+Europa mission, Galileo, was in 1989 so I'm not too concerned about a shakeup in plans for the mission after the next one. One might say that planning now for a Europa mission could even be premature when we don't know what EMM will find. We've seen portions of Europa's surface at respectably high resolution, but it's not out of the question that a thorough reconnaissance will identify landing sites that require different engineering and science specs than anything we know of now.

Moreover, the tentative identification of time-varying geyser activity really broadens the possibilities for what the next step at Europa might be. In accessing aqueous materials that have recently been in contact with the ocean and/or lens melt lakes, there are potentially several very different targets:

1) A surface location where liquid water from below has recently risen and frozen.
2) A surface location where geyser outflow is falling in the current time frame.
3) A geyser fly-through and sample return.

Moreover, there's some potential synergy here with Enceladus exploration.

It's a bit sad that the delays between missions are significant fractions of a human lifetime, but it's important that the second mission is planned better rather than sooner.
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Decepticon
post Mar 18 2017, 10:01 PM
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Im confused is the Europa Clipper mission still happening?

I thought it was Cancelled?
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nprev
post Mar 18 2017, 10:21 PM
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Europa Clipper is on. The putative Europa Lander is currently not funded.


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mcaplinger
post Mar 19 2017, 12:23 AM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Mar 18 2017, 02:21 PM) *
Europa Clipper is on. The putative Europa Lander is currently not funded.

To be clear, Clipper recently passed its Key Decision Point-B review but it doesn't move forward into implementation until KDP-C. I don't personally consider a mission to be "on" until after KDP-C.

The lander never was funded for real so it couldn't be "cancelled" -- there are still technology development programs that are funded and have some applicability for the lander; e.g., https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewre...bstracts%20.pdf


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JRehling
post Mar 19 2017, 10:40 PM
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Perhaps a source of confusion: There was a mission concept called Europa Ice Clipper that involved an impactor and a sample return. That concept was never funded and is not currently active.

The mission concept that is currently active was tentatively called Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission. That has formally been named, very recently, Europa Clipper.

Other than the name and the world that's being targeted, there's little relationship between the two missions.
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mcaplinger
post Mar 20 2017, 12:11 AM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Mar 19 2017, 02:40 PM) *
The mission concept that is currently active was tentatively called Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission.

FWIW, not by anybody I ever heard talking about it. I think Europa Clipper was a semi-official name used for the latest concept of a lower-cost multiple-flyby mission that took over when the Europa orbiter was decided to be too expensive. One could do some history on OPAG minutes and such like if one really cared.

At any rate, it's now officially Europa Clipper and I guess we'll see if it ever happens.


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djellison
post Mar 20 2017, 05:14 AM
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Yeah...what's now called Clipper was known as Clipper really from the outset....we even called it that when I added it to Eyes on the Solar System. Then from on high it was decided it just be called 'The Europa Mission' and we all tried to remember NOT to call it Clipper, Now....it's Clipper again.
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JRehling
post Mar 20 2017, 05:32 PM
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Thanks for further clarification on the naming issue. I was pointing out just one source of confusion – there's been quite a mishmash of mission concepts and names.

The Europa Ice Clipper proposal was not for a lander + sample return – the combination of delta-v and radiation shielding would be very problematic. The Europa Ice Clipper idea was for an impactor to hit the surface and throw up a cloud of material that would allow mid-flight collection of a sample by a craft that would never enter Europa nor even Jupiter orbit and would return to Earth on a direct-return solar orbit. This is sort of a mashup of Deep Impact and Stardust, avoiding the problem of the delta-v associated with landing and return. A similar concept was earlier proposed for Mercury and a fly-through sample return from Enceladus' plumes has also been discussed.
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nprev
post Mar 21 2017, 04:58 AM
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Four posts that were wandering OT removed. Topic title edited for clarity.


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