NASA Eyes Jupiter’s Moon in 2021 Via $2B Europa Mission
By Vittorio Hernandez | February 18, 2013 10:48 AM EST
While other nations are planning migration to planet Mars, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States is planning to fly to the moon - that is Jupiter's moon which is covered in large oceans of water under a thick ice later.
NASA plans to reach the planet's moon by 2021 using the $2-billion Europa Clipper rocket. Robert Pappalardo, senior research scientist at NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in California, explained that Jupiter's moon was selected because of the presence of water which is a sign of life on Earth.
He said that Jupiter has 67 confirmed moons and the largest are Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto. Although these moons are very far from the sun to benefit from solar heat, the oceans underneath its layers of ice are warmed up during their orbit around the planet.
"The search for life in our solar system somewhat equates to the search for liquid water. When we ask the question where are the water worlds, we have to look to the outer solar system because there are oceans beneath the icy shells of the moon," BBC quoted Mr Pappalardo.
Among Jupiter's many moons, NASA picked Europa because its oceans are in contact with rock below that are probably geologically active, he said on Friday at the yearly gathering of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Massachusetts.
He added that Europe is subject to extreme levels of radiation which means it would likely be covered in oxidants at its surface, created by the ripping apart of water by energetic radiation and could be used by lifeforms as a fuel type.
However, the ambitious plan is subject to NASA's final approval, which currently is still focused on sending another rover to Mars after the agency's Curiosity rover drilled last week its first hole in Mar's surface in its attempt to start an examination of Martian soil.
The $2 billion bill excludes cost of the launch vehicles and rockets.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- In Photos, Typhoon Rammasun Blasts the Philippines
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- HIV Cure: First Effective Cure to Have Long-Term Remission; 3 Factors to Check on Inactive Virus
- Coming Soon: AntiViral Gel in Condoms to Kill HIV Virus
- Melbourne Man Gives Up Sex For a Year; Donates £50,000 in Charity
- FDA Prioritises Review of ‘Abuse-Deterrent’ Painkiller
- Tree of 40 Fruit: A Tree That Produces 40 Fruits in New York
- Google Nexus 8 Release Date Soon Along with 2 More HTC Android Tablets – Reports
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Sony PlayStation 4 Outsells a Resurgent Xbox One in June
- Killer Xiaomi Mi4 at $369 Likely to Come With 5.0-Inch Display, Snapdragon 801 Processor, 3GB RAM and More
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- NVIDIA Shield Gaming Tablet with Tegra K1 SoC Reported to be Released on July 29