By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration
Since its discovery in 1610, Europa - one among Jupiter's 4 huge moons - has been an item of curiosity to astronomers and planetary scientists. a lot of this curiosity stems from observations made via NASA's Voyager and Galileo spacecraft and from Earth-based telescopes indicating that Europa's floor is sort of younger, with little or no proof of cratering, and made largely of water ice.
More lately, theoretical types of the jovian procedure and Europa have prompt that tidal heating could have ended in the life of liquid water, and maybe an ocean, underneath Europa's floor. NASA's ongoing Galileo challenge has profoundly multiplied our figuring out of Europa and the dynamics of the jovian approach, and will let us constrain theoretical types of Europa's subsurface structure.
Meanwhile, because the time of the Voyagers, there was a revolution in our realizing of the bounds of lifestyles in the world. lifestyles has been detected thriving in environments formerly regarded as untenable - round hydrothermal vent platforms at the seafloor, deep underground in basaltic rocks, and inside of polar ice. somewhere else within the sun process, together with on Europa, environments regarded as appropriate with lifestyles as we all know it on the earth at the moment are thought of attainable, or perhaps possible. Spacecraft missions are being deliberate which may be in a position to proving their existence.
Against this history, the distance stories Board charged its Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) to accomplish a complete examine to evaluate present wisdom approximately Europa, define a method for destiny spacecraft missions to Europa, and establish possibilities for complementary Earth-based reports of Europa. (See the preface for a whole assertion of the charge.)
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Additional info for A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa
57,58 Chemosynthesis is possible on Earth owing to numerous environments that are not in a state of chemical equilibrium. In many of these environments, the chemical interaction of water with rocks, and the movement and circulation of the resulting solutions between regions of differing temperatures, establish disequilibrium states by bringing together compounds that are in different oxidation states. For example, water-rock reactions in rocks containing ferrous silicates (like basalts, peridotites, and other igneous rocks) can lead to a small amount of H2 production from H2O as some of the ferrous iron is oxidized to ferric iron.
A. , J. W. , Taylor and Francis, 1998, pages 1-18. 57. L. D. Schulte, “Organic Synthesis During Fluid Mixing in Hydrothermal Systems,” Journal of Geophysical Research 103: 28513, 1998. 58. L. Shock, T. D. , J. W. , Taylor and Francis, 1998, pages 59-76. 59. L. Shock, “Geochemical Constraints on the Origin of Organic Compounds in Hydrothermal Systems,” Origins of Life and the Evolution of the Biosphere 20: 331, 1990. 60. M. L. Shock, “The Biological Potential of Mars, the Early Earth, and Europa,” Journal of Geophysical Research 103: 19359, 1998.
However, in contrast to the terrestrial situation, the atmosphere and ionosphere on Europa are highly representative of surface materials, and therefore the detection of all possible species is important. 5 RJ), a region populated mainly by plasma derived from the Io plasma torus. The plasma there consists of protons, oxygen and sulfur ions, and their corresponding electrons. The background magnetic field of Jupiter is quite strong near Europa’s orbit (~ 500 nT), and the fluxes of energetic electrons and ions are among the highest found in the solar system.
A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa by National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration