Joint Europa Mission: ESA and NASA together towards Jupiter icy moon
The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA are planning a joint mission aimed at Jupiter icy moon, Europa, scheduled to start in 2025. This was revealed by the two space agencies during the European Geosciences Union that was held in Vienna.
Observed for the first time by Galileo Galilei in 1610, Europa is one of the natural satellites of Jupiter that are completely covered with ice, which hide an ocean of water beneath their surfaces. Scientists believe that this location is compatible with the presence of forms of extraterrestrial life. The new mission, called Joint Europa Mission (JEM), would aim at studying more in depth the features of this ocean and of the giant geysers observed also by using the Hubble space telescope.
The mission would include an orbiter and a lander: the former would orbit Jupiter’s moon for three months, and then crash into the icy crust to also collect precious information on the composition of the atmosphere and the ice; the latter would have an operational life of 35 days and would land on Europa in order to collect samples of materials.
“The exploration of Europa should be an international adventure – said Michel Blanc from the Institute of Astrophysics and Planetology of Toulouse – the final objective being to reach the surface and search for traces of life”. According to the plans, the mission should last six and a half years, needed to reach Jupiter.