It is time to go to Europe

It is time to go to Europe

For 4,6 billion years of existence of our Solar system life could find to itself a haven not only on Earth. The satellite of Jupiter Europe can be one of probable candidates. On young Venus and Mars, most likely, there was a liquid water, an important component of the life, known to us, but today one ball is intolerable is hot, and another absolutely froze. The satellite of Saturn Entselad can be the important tank of liquid water, but in all last researches Europe all the same moves to the forefront. Besides it is closer.

The ocean of Europe storing twice more waters, than terrestrial oceans, could remain liquid from the formation of the satellite. Life on Europe quite could have enough time to have development.

Scientists consider that the ocean of Europe lies directly on a surface of the stony world, so, water contacts to other elements and minerals, important for life. In process of moon rotation round Jupiter, the tidal friction heats up the world from within, keeping the huge ocean liquid, and also, possibly, feeding volcanic activity. On a seabed of our planet, near hydrothermal sources and volcanic breaks, there are rich ecosystems. The same can be fair and concerning Europe.

Earlier we already sent probes to Europe. During the mission to Jupiter in the late nineties the Galileo spacecraft observed the moon, only did not receive confirmation that Europe hides the ocean of 100-kilometer depth under rather thin ice cover. Tidal forces regularly break ice, allowing water to spill from depths on a surface, leaving certificates of chemistry of the ocean. Supervision of a space telescope Hubble in 2012 confirmed that streams of water are periodically thrown up from a surface of Europe. The spacecraft could take samples of this potentially zhivonosny ocean, having flown by directly through them.

The ancient Galileo tools (developed in at one time with the Apple II computer) could not define, of what spots on a surface of Europe or what thickness of an ice cover — important points for determination of suitability of the moon for life consist. NASA pushed off Galileo to Jupiter in 2003, and since then scientists and groups like Planetary Society urge NASA to send the next mission to Europe. The device would turn round Jupiter, instead of Europe, and 45 times would plunge into radiating belts of a planet simply to fly round a moon surface, trying to discover safe places for data transmission home. Clipper could characterize the ocean of Europe, study its geochemistry and geological processes. Also it could reconnoiter places for further missions with landing.

The most part from the last 15 years mission on return to Europe stayed in a germ condition, alternating constant slips and contradictions. This year it was decided to approve mission after all. However, the plan was stated by the Congress and the U.S. President without terms and planned cost. Mission of Clipper will cost approximately 2 billion dollars, and only 185 million dollars will be put for the first four years of researches.

For comparison: when two years ago NASA began work on the following mars rover, this project received rough date of start (in 2020), the budget (1,5 billion dollars) and base financing (775 million dollars for the first four years). Though members of team of Clipper consider that will be ready to start in 2022, conversations on the middle of 2020 are had.

Europe — the excellent purpose, but preparation for its research, no less than research, should be entrusted the best professionals. It is necessary to believe, NASA will perfectly cope with this most powerful mission.