Toward a survey on the possibility of extraterrestrial life presence NASA's "europa exploration plan"
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Has been preparing for some time Jupiter satellite "Europa"We announced that we have issued a go-ahead to the implementation of a plan to conduct a survey by sending a probe to. It is believed that Europa has a large amount of water under the surface of the earth, and it seems to be a survey that gets a big clue to confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life.
All Systems Go for NASA's Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa | NASA
Regarding the Europa exploration plan that started to move in earnest towards implementation, NASA has released the following movies.
Alien Ocean: NASA's Mission to Europa - YouTube
Europa which is "Moon of Jupiter" is a celestial body of almost the same size as the moon of the earth. The surface is covered with ice, but under it is thought to be a large amount of water or sherbet-like ice.
Needless to say, water is indispensable for the existence of life. Therefore, the presence of a large amount of water clearly indicates that we are clearing the first step for the existence of life.
The structure of Europa has a core substance in the center, and it is thought that "Sea" which extends to the depth of 160 km exists on the crust. The part shown in light blue in the following forecast is the sea of Europa and the outside is covered with ice.
When I look at the ice surface from the outside, I know that there are many streaky cracks. This indicates that some movement is occurring on the surface, which means that Europa is a "living star".
In order to investigate the details, NASA has created a concept draft for the exploration of Europa. This is the predicted CG of the currently planned spacecraft.
A spacecraft that left the earth will reach Jupiter and then Europa over a long period of several years.
But here is one problem. Around Jupiter there is a strong magnetic field and high radiation area that Jupiter is producing, and it is considered difficult to stay for a long time.
Therefore, NASA has planned to take a trajectory that cyclically approaches and leaves repeatedly without putting a probe in orbit around Jupiter. I repeat back and forth using Jupiter's gravitySwing byBy doing 45 times, we are trying to realize observation over a long period of time.
In addition, interesting phenomena have been confirmed in Europa. Space telescope "Hubble", from the surface of EuropaA scene where a water column blows up due to a large amount of water vaporWas observed.
The water column seems to have reached a height of 200 km, and it is thought that 3 tons of water has been jetted per second.
It is also planned to conduct a survey in which a pros aircraft rushes into such a water column.
It is planned to investigate the detailed composition inside the Europa by rushing into the spouting water and "tasting" the very contents of it exactly.
By investigating these, it is expected that we will elucidate a number of mechanisms, such as why Europa is not closed by ice and that water can exist and where its energy source comes from.
If life could exist in Europa it would be a testament to the existence of life in places not directly related to the Earth. And that leads to a strong conviction that life exists beyond the earth in the broad universe.
So far NASA has planned the exploration of EuropaConcept plan(Concept) has been created, but after the review has been completedplanIt was announced that it entered the actual development stage called Formulation. Deputy Secretary of the NASA · Science Mission Board, John M. Glansfeld said, "Today, the mission of exploring the signs of life outside the Earth will advance an exciting step forward from the concept to the planning stage In Europa's exploration in the past 20 years we have gained a variety of clues to stir us up and now it is time for us to find the answer to the question that humankind has in the heart of our hearts It is said.
A spacecraft "1990's"GalileoIn Jupiter's exploration by Jupiter's prospect, proof that Europa with almost the same size as the moon of the earth has a water sea of 160 km deep under the surface covered with ice has been found I will. This is the deepest in the ocean of the earthMariana TrenchIt is 16 times as deep as the 11 thousand meters, and it is thought that Europa is twice the amount of water stored in the earth. The shape of a large amount of seawater including salt and the shape of the bulge of the seabed, and the crust of the Jupiter caused by tide of the sea (fullness)Tidal heatingIt is thought that europa contains nutrients for primitive organisms to preserve life by combining the energy of the energy and the compound generated by it.
In order to carry out this plan, it is necessary to launch a rocket to be launched into Jupiter's satellite orbit over the course of several years in the 2020's. The satellite is swinging around Jupiter in a cycle of two weeks, swinging around the europa and flying around 45 times, photographing the surface of Europa covered with ice with a high resolution camera, its composition and internal It is scheduled to investigate how it is.
Regarding the management of this project, NASA'sJet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL) is to assume the assignment, and since 2011 the same research institute has been conducting research on multiple fly-by flights in cooperation with John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). In addition, it is announced that the equipment to be installed in the probe will be jointly undertaken by APL and JPL, Arizona State University, University of Texas at Austin, Southwest Laboratory, University of Colorado and others.
"This is a wonderful day for the science," said Joan Sarto, executive officer in the Europa plan, "This is a wonderful day for science. To be able to take the first step to become a milestone in the mission that informs this whether life can exist in Europa I am excited. "