NASA has announced that Planetary Science Institute researchers plan to study one of Jupiter’s many moons, Europa.
According to NASA officials at a press conference, the Europa’s mission will launch in the 2020s. Their plans I to have the satellite orbit Jupiter while doing flybys on Europa with altitude from 25km to 2,700km over a three-year time-frame.
The Mapping Image Spectrometer for Europa (MISE) will be responsible for probing the composition of Europa while collecting information on the distribution of salts, acid hydrates, organics, and other materials to see if Europa’s oceans can support life as we know it.
Roger Clark, PSI Senior Scientist and Co-Investigator if the MISE said that MISE will help them understand what the oceans on Europa’s moons are made out of.
Another instrument, the Europa Imaging System (EIS), will map the surface of Europa at a resolution of 50 meters. The EIS features a narrow angle camera lens that is intended to be able to map 90% of Europa’s surface. Senior Scientists Amy Barr Mlinar and Candice Hansen are PSI Senior Scientists and Co-Investigators of the EIS system.
Galileo, the previous satellite, was only able to map 10% of Europa at about 200 meters.
Among the 33 proposed instruments, nine were accepted by NASA for the mission. Will this mission shed some light on Jupiter, or will it just give rise to more questions than it answers?