DPS Pasadena Meeting 2000, 23-27 October 2000
Session 26. Future Missions Posters
Displayed, 1:00pm, Monday - 1:00pm, Friday, Highlighted Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-6:30pm, C101-C105, C211

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[26.03] Science Objectives and Mission Concepts for Europa Exploration

L. K. Tamppari (JPL), D. A. Senske (NASA HQ), T. V. Johnson, R. Oberto, W. Zimmerman (JPL), JPL's Team-X Team

Since the arrival of the Galileo spacecraft to the Jovian system in 1995, evidence indicating a liquid water ocean beneath the icy Europan crust has become much stronger. This evidence combined with the fact that Europa is greater than 90 wt% water [1] makes it a candidate body to harbor extant or extinct life. The outstanding Europa science questions [2] are to determine whether or not there is or has been a liquid water layer under the ice and whether or not liquid water currently exists on the surface or has in the geologically recent past, what geological processes create the ice rafts and other ice-tectonic processes that affect the surface, the composition of the deep interior , geochemical sources of energy, the nature of the neutral atmosphere and ionosphere, and the nature of the radiation environment, especially with regard to its implications for organic and biotic chemistry. In addition, in situ studies of the surface of Europa would offer the opportunity to characterize the chemistry of the ice including organics, pH, salinity, and redox potential.

In order to address these scientific objectives, a Europa program, involving multiple spacecraft, is envisioned. The JPL Outer Planets program has been helping to lay the groundwork for such a program. This effort is being conducted with particular emphasis on compiling and identifying science objectives which will flow down to a Europa mission architecture. This poster will show the tracability of observational methods from the science objectives.

Also in support of developing a Europa mission architecture, JPL’s Team-X has conducted a variety of Europa mission studies . A comparison of the studies done to date will be presented, highlighting science objectives accomplished, technological challenges, and cost.

A more detailed presentation will be given on a Europa Lander concept study. First, the science objectives and instrumentation will be shown, including instrument mass, power usage, volume, and data rate. Second, the mission design will be discussed, including candidate launch and arrival dates and landing ellipse issues. Third, the technology developments required and other issues will be presented.

This poster presentation will provide an opportunity for the science community to influence future work on developing a Europa architecture, including refinements to a Europa Lander , other mission concepts, and further science objective identification and prioritization.

This work was carried out at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract from NASA.

[1] Morrison, D., Introduction to the Satellites of Jupiter in Satellites of Jupiter, Morrison ed., 1982.

[2] Space Studies Board, A Strategy for the Exploration of Europa, National Academy Press, Washington D. C., 1999.

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