NASA Announces 'All Systems Go' for Mission to Europa's Alien Ocean

Thursday, 18 June 2015 - 12:37PM
Space
Europa
Alien Life
Thursday, 18 June 2015 - 12:37PM
NASA Announces 'All Systems Go' for Mission to Europa's Alien Ocean
NASA made a huge step towards an exploratory mission to Europa when it announced plans to send a probe to search for alien life, but so far the mission has been in the "conception" phase. Now, NASA has announced that "all systems go" for the mission to Europa, and has now moved from the conception to the development phase. 



Astrobiologists have long theorized that Europa is a suitable candidate for habitability as a result of the ice covering its surface, but the icy moon rocketed to the top of the list of candidates when it was discovered evidence that it likely has a subsurface liquid ocean. NASA is especially optimistic that life can be found on this "ocean world," and now calls it "one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of present-day life."

"Today we're taking an exciting step from concept to mission, in our quest to find signs of life beyond Earth," said NASA's John Grunsfeld in a statement. "Observations of Europa have provided us with tantalizing clues over the last two decades, and the time has come to seek answers to one of humanity's most profound questions."

According to the current mission plan, a spacecraft will be launched in the 2020s, arriving at Europa after several years of travel. The probe would then conduct 45 close flybys, performing a detailed survey of the moon's surface and internal composition, as well as evaluating it for habitability and current presence of life. 

"It's a great day for science," said Joan Salute, Europa program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We are thrilled to pass the first major milestone in the lifecycle of a mission that will ultimately inform us on the habitability of Europa."

Via Blastr.
Science
NASA
Space
Europa
Alien Life
NASA Announces 'All Systems Go' for Mission to Europa's Alien Ocean

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