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NASA Gets $75 Million For Europa Mission 135

astroengine writes "It may not be a lander or an orbiter, but its something. Europa, one of Jupiter's largest moons, has been the focus of much scrutiny over its potential life-bearing qualities. It has an icy crust over a liquid water ocean and now salts have been detected on its surface, suggesting a cycling of nutrients from the surface to the interior. This only amplifies the hypothesis that Europa not only could support basic life, it could support complex life. But how can we find out? The proposed Europa Clipper received interest at NASA HQ last year as it would optimize the science while keeping the mission budget under $2 billion. It would be a spacecraft that will be in orbit around Jupiter, but make multiple flybys of Europa to assess the moon for its habitable qualities. Now, in a bill signed by President Obama and approved by lawmakers, $75 million has been allocated (for the remainder of this fiscal year) for a 'Jupiter Europa mission.' Could it represent the seed money for the Europa Clipper? We'll have to wait and see."
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NASA Gets $75 Million For Europa Mission

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  • direct link (Score:5, Informative)

    by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @02:59PM (#43340667)
    Here is the actual link [] to the bill (now law):

    "For necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, in the conduct and support of science research and development activities, including research, development, operations, support, and services; maintenance and repair, facility planning and design; space flight, spacecraft control, and communications activities; program management; personnel and related costs, including uniforms or allowances therefor, as authorized by sections 5901 and 5902 of title 5, United States Code; travel expenses; purchase and hire of passenger motor vehicles; and purchase, lease, charter, maintenance, and operation of mission and administrative aircraft, $5,144,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2014, of which up to $14,500,000 shall be available for a reimbursable agreement with the Department of Energy for the purpose of re-establishing facilities to produce fuel required for radioisotope thermoelectric generators to enable future missions: Provided, That $75,000,000 shall be for pre-formulation and/or formulation activities for a mission that meets the science goals outlined for the Jupiter Europa mission in the most recent planetary science decadal survey: Provided further, That the formulation and development costs (with development cost as defined under section 30104 of title 51, United States Code) for the James Webb Space Telescope shall not exceed $8,000,000,000: Provided further, That should the individual identified under subsection (c)(2)(E) of section 30104 of title 51, United States Code, as responsible for the James Webb Space Telescope determine that the development cost of the program is likely to exceed that limitation, the individual shall immediately notify the Administrator and the increase shall be treated as if it meets the 30 percent threshold described in subsection (f) of section 30104."
  • Re:$75 Million huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by GreenTom ( 1352587 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:39PM (#43341159)
    That cooperative threat reduction is basically helping the FSU keep track of and dismantle their nukes. []
  • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:44PM (#43341223) Homepage

    - Carolyn Porco

    To get good information on Europa, you really need a lander. You might not even need to drill - organics may flow up from the ocean and get frozen in the crust. But a lander is necessary to get actual samples. In fact, if they send that Curiosity clone they're planning to Europa instead of Mars again, it might get much more interesting results!

    Enceladus, on the other hand, is like Soviet Russia: Because of its geysers, samples go to you.

  • Re:$75 Million huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @04:20PM (#43341629)

    Indeed. We're a long ways away from having the technical know-how to drill through several kilometers of ice (and lets' face it, we really have no idea how thick the ice "crust" may be), either by robot or even manned mission.

    I don't think it's technical know-how so much as the cost to get the drill payload there. Scientists drilled through a kilometer of antarctic ice sheet to explore the lake beneath, so we have the know-how.

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @06:56PM (#43343047)
    More than the rest of the world. Since we finally retreated from Iraq our spending has gone down slightly and China's has risen we're now 'only' 41 percent. As a percentage of GDP we're only after Israel and the various Arab countries that we sell weapons to defend themselves from Israel. We could reduce our military spending by 80 percent and still be the #1 spender. Reduce it by 70 percent and we're still spending more than China and Russia combined. Keep in mind that doesn't count the (entirely unconstitutional) Black Budget, the alphabet soup of intel agencies, the free weapons we give away, or the mercenaries we are paying. Nor does it count things like the State Department paying Blackwater (or whatever its name is this week) to guard the US embassies worldwide, or the other mercs that are supposed to guard the consulates (like Benghazi) or oil and gas pipelines in Colombia.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.