With one year to go before the New Horizons spacecraft encounters Pluto, NASA has started planning for a mission to Jupiter's Moon Europa.
In July 2015, NASA will discover a new world. No one knows what to expect when the alien landscape comes into focus. There could be icy geysers, towering mountains, deep valleys, even planetary rings.
At this point, only one thing is certain: Its name is Pluto.
On July 14th, 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make a close flyby of that distant world. "Because Pluto has never been visited up-close by a spacecraft from Earth, everything we see will be a first," says Adriana Ocampo, the Program Executive for NASA's New Frontiers program at NASA headquarters. "I know this will be an astonishing experience full of history making moments."
More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/14jul_pluto2015/
NASA has issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for proposals about science instruments that could be carried aboard a future mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Selected instruments could address fundamental questions about the icy moon and the search for life beyond Earth.
“The possibility of life on Europa is a motivating force for scientists and engineers around the world,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This solicitation will select instruments which may provide a big leap in our search to answer the question: are we alone in the universe?”
The Decadal Survey deemed a mission to Europa among the highest priority scientific pursuits for NASA. It listed five key science objectives in priority order that are necessary to improve our understanding of the potentially habitable moon:
- Characterize the extent of the ocean and its relation to the deeper interior
- Characterize the ice shell and any subsurface water, including their heterogeneity, and the nature of surface-ice-ocean exchange
- Determine global surface, compositions and chemistry, especially as related to habitability
- Understand the formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity, identify and characterize candidate sites for future detailed exploration
- Understand Europa’s space environment and interaction with the magnetosphere.
More - Link >>> http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/july/nasa-seeks-proposals-for-europa-mission-science-instruments/#.U8WXJaKweKI
2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium
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