National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is currently concocting a mission that will be bound for Europa (one of the 67 moons of Jupiter) and hopes that they will discover signs of alien life on the biggest planet in the Solar System.
NASA is collaborating with scientists and engineers to whip up a mission to Europa, one of the largest moons of the ice-covered and desolated planet to look for alien life and concentrated on the moon’s polar region where water vapor is in abundance. The team thinks that this method will give them a good chance of extracting liquid water as a sample, which is usually inaccessible through the swathe thick layer of ice that covers the moon.
An astrobiologist at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kevin Hand, said that the, “Europa is clearly such a prime target for astrobiology that having a workshop like this to try and figure out all the ways in which we could possibly sample its ocean… critically important.”
The Europa mission has already received financial backing as the White House has allotted $30 million to fund the first phase of the project which is a fraction of $18.5 billion request that is still awaiting the approval of the US Congress. The estimated cost of the Europa mission would hit over $2 billion.
The people behind the mission are confident they will receive the initial funds to get started.
An astronaut and NASA’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate, John Grunsfeld said that, “We are going to do a Europa mission, and I’m very excited about that…I think it’s unlikely that Congress is going tell us, ‘No, NASA shouldn’t be doing a Europa mission.’ Very unlikely.”
NASA already comes up with rough plan for the mission by sending a vessel that will scour the orbit of Jupiter and hover over Europa for three and a half years. With regards to getting a water samples, the mission will first evaluate and chart the icy shell covering of the surface, that will later be used in future mission to the moon.
However, the NASA mission to Europa to search for alien life will take a lot of time and the first mission will probably materialize in 2022, but based on the existing technology the mission might get started in 2030.