OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED: NASA AND ESA TO LAND ON EUROPA TO LOOK FOR ALIEN LIFE
Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, has long been considered to be the best candidate for life outside Earth within this solar system. Europa is believed to have a deep, underground ocean which contains more water than all of the oceans on Earth combined which make it a prime spot for investigation.
However, visiting this icy moon in order to extract samples and learn more about its atmospheric composition has proved to be a daunting task. It is so daunting, in fact, that NASA has decided that it is one that they simply cannot undertake alone.
NASA ASKS ESA TO HELP THEM EXPLORE EUROPA
In order to ensure that Europa doesn’t remain virgin territory for space exploration in the near future, NASA has made overtures to the ESA for the two agencies to collaborate in a joint expedition to the moon. In the proposal, referred to as the Joint Europa Mission (JEM) was unveiled this Sunday in the Austrian capital city of Vienna at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union.
Representatives from NASA proposed that the two agencies combine resources and technology in order to make the mission together and the proposal was met with some enthusiasm. “The whole idea is that if we think exploring Europa for life is important, it should be an international venture.”
The plan put forward by NASA is that JEM would launch in the mid-2020s and would run for approximately six and a half years. When the lander reaches the surface of Europa it will explore for a little over a month, primarily scanning materials for any traces of life. Simultaneously, an orbiter craft would spend three months taking measurements of the moon in order to provide information about Europa’s structure with particular emphasis on the composition of the underground ocean.
At this current time, there are clear signs that representatives from both of the space agencies are very keen to go ahead with this exciting joint venture. There have even been suggestions that if the mission is a success that there could be follow-up collaborative efforts to explore the other moons of Jupiter and neighboring gas giant Saturn which is considered to be good candidates for life. However, nothing can go ahead on this project until it is given the full approval of President Donald Trump who has ultimate oversight over the activities of the American space agency.
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