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Space Transportation

Crowd-Funding a Mission To Jupiter's Moons 86

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Like so many great leaps for mankind, getting a human to one of Jupiter's moons must begin with a small step. And Objective Europa is aiming to do exactly that. A small team — architects, futurist designers, private space pioneers and even Jacques Cousteau's son — is beginning the planning stage to send human beings on a one-way trip to the Jovian moon Europa. The effort is headed up by Kristian Von Bengston, the founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, an open source DIY space program based in his native Denmark. And he's quite serious about transporting a man or woman beyond our atmosphere, Mars and the asteroid belt."
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Crowd-Funding a Mission To Jupiter's Moons

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  • Open the pod bay door, HAL.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If they are actually serious... well, then they're idiots. This is so many orders of magnitude beyond anything attempted before that it was a dream at the height of Cold War spending on world space programs. People think "ah, Earth, moon, Mars, Jupiter, ...", but they never bother to look at how many extra zeros you add to distances and times and risks and costs and....

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yoda222 ( 943886 )

        There are also COTS technology order of magnitude cheaper and better for space technology that was available during the cold war. Not for all subsystems, but for some of them. You have higher specific impulse technology (but low thrust, bad point for human mission, but good for mass), cheaper sensor (anything you want, gyro, sun, star, ... you could not have found that easily before, now it's just about making a few phone calls and cash, it's not cheap, but also not millions of $), you can find better space

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      " to send human beings on a one-way trip to the Jovian moon Europa"

                G'WAN ya indigent scumbags, and don't come back!

      I want to know if this is going to be a Botany Bay sort of strategy or something equally as beneficial.

  • Landing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:33PM (#44461985)

    As long as we attempt no landings there.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Step 3 Profit.

  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:39PM (#44462051)
    Who expects to live long enough to take possession of their collector edition t-shirt and fake rock?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thanks - I'm here all week!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... will kill anyone who tries this in a few years. It would not be pleasant for the poor sucker.

  • Risk Aversion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropy98 ( 1340659 ) on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:52PM (#44462175) Homepage

    I think our society has become too risk averse. Not only are many people more terrified of 1 in a million occurrences like terrorism and serial killers than truly dangerous activities like driving, many want the government to prevent others from engaging in risky behavior even when they only risk harm to themselves.

    Case in point, I'm pretty sure if this was attempted there would be considerable debate on whether someone should be allowed to volunteer for a suicide mission like this. Yet no one ever questioned the sanity of anyone wishing to fly on the space shuttle with it's 1 out of 67.5 chance per flight of killing you in a massive fireball..

    • Re:Risk Aversion (Score:4, Interesting)

      by basecastula ( 2556196 ) <[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:58PM (#44462227)
      I, for one, would be fine with laying my life on the line to explore Europa. Its has been my dream since I was like 8. It always seemed to be the coolest of the planets/moons in the solar system. Except for the whole, cannot escape the water thing. However, do they want monkeys, or skilled individuals? This would make a big difference. Guess I will have to RTFA....good one, I know.
      • This sounds like it is more than just risking your life. It is sacrificing your life for the chance to see Europa and to attempt a landing there.

        • Well, the only thing you can know with certainty is that you will die. A trip to Europa could be a hell of a way to go, what do you plan on buying with your death?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I, for one, would be fine with laying my life on the line to explore Europa.

        For some reason I saw "my wife" instead of "my life" when I first read this. I would also be fine with sending my wife on a one way trip to Europa!

    • I think part of what's happened is a deeper appreciation for life, and less acceptance of avoidable death which I think are altogether positive trends. That being said, you're either going to die on this planet or another one. It's not like the people staying behind are going to live forever.
      • They're great trends unless you enjoy smoking, drinking, drugs, lawn darts, transfats, soda, raw milk, bloody steak, buckyballs, gambling... I'm sure I'm missing plenty...

    • If this was "going out with a slim chance of coming home". That's one thing.

      This is "You AIN'T coming back!"

      People who don't volunteer for this aren't "risk averse". They're simply proving they have higher brain function in the form of reason.

      • Is it worth dying to be the first human ever to "walk" on a Jovian moon or really anywhere other than the moon? Maybe enough consumables could be brought to survive for at least a few years and really explore the place and send back images. And maybe there could be another kickstarter for a new mission to keep sending supplies every couple of years or something.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          The problem is that somebody will realize at some point that there's more money to be made from a reality TV show called "Watch Astronauts Die", and then they'll stop sending food.

        • by Chas ( 5144 )

          Is it worth dying to be the first human ever to "walk" on a Jovian moon or really anywhere other than the moon?

          In one word: NO!

          We can send unmanned probes to do exploration and science experiments.

          We send people when we have a chance to safely return them.

          Sending them out on a suicide mission "For Science!" is a reeking crock of shit.

          At least be honest about what it is. One long snuff film.

          • Why do *YOU* get to decide what *MY* life is worth?

            You will die, that is non-negotiable no matter what you do - go to Europa or stay on Earth. Live healthy, or eat nothing but McDonald's happy meals. Nothing you do will prevent you from dying. Meanwhile the history of the human race is full of those who died attempting the impossible, and quite a few who managed to succeed and changed the worlds perception of what was possible.

            The only question is what will your death be worth? Is a chance to set foot w

            • by Chas ( 5144 )

              Well, if you're hell-bent on committing public suicide, be my guest.
              You're not helping anything, even the population issues.

              Pardon me if I find this sort of exhibitionism ghoulish in the extreme.

              • Death isn't the point, just the price.

                There has always been a percentage of the population willing to gamble their lives pushing the boundaries of human accomplishment, even pushing forward in the face of certain death, and our species is the better for it. Asking those people to quietly rot to death instead now that we've explored pretty much everything on the planet accessible to the non-scientist is a tenuous position to take.

                • by Chas ( 5144 )

                  I'm sorry. But what, EXACTLY can we learn by shooting a frail, semi-autonomous bag of flesh and bone into space that we can't learn learn with a probe?

                  Etch "Killroy was here!" someplace?

    • The problem is, the examples you quote are not examples of being risk averse, but poor risk management:

      1. Not actually calculating the risk objectively - people who are afraid of terrorism and climate denialists fall into this category, as does being afraid of flying but not driving.

      2. Poor projection of the risk versus reward. You can take greater risks if the reward is greater.

      The second is where the 'canned ape' strategy of space exploration falls down. The proposed mission for instance, has 2 pote

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        From a risk-reward perspective, this proposal makes no sense, because success is exactly like failure.

        From a risk-reward perspective, human life makes no sense either :) Expanding the line of thinking from the 2nd half of your post, just a bit, leads us to believe that there's almost nothing that we can gain from any of human pursuits. It'd be very easy to construct a similar argument based on similarly sufficiently arbitrary notion of what is a gain. In other words, the "argument" is just a logical fallacy, although it escapes me at the moment which one [].

        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          It should be required that anyone claiming a "logical fallacy" must formalize the argument, and from that show how the alleged fallacy applies and what impact the error has on the conclusion(s), if any.

          In other words, the "argument" is just a logical fallacy, although it escapes me at the moment which one

          Perhaps it's because you're relying on an absurd poster from a website which caters to the lower-end of the "I don't need a formal education" faction of the skeptical movement rather than a textbook?

          The scare-quotes you've placed around the word "argument" are curious. Can I safely assume that you're a member

        • Hilbert would be pissed if we started sending I/Q and stopped using his transform in SDRs.

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        The risk is not realised, the crew dies on the surface of Europa. Result: exactly the same: we've gained nothing, and lost our investment.

        This is yet another example of poor projection of the risk versus reward. We gain a considerable amount both in technology development and a concrete accomplishment, putting someone on the surface of Europa. To even have an honest discussion of this sort of thing, you have to acknowledge that something can have value to others even if it doesn't to you.

  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They can't even figure out how to survive a single day on Europa without dying (due to the radiation), and they want us to just give them money. Also, how much will it cost to give these astronauts enough food, water, and materials to survive on, not only for the 600 day ONE WAY trip, for the rest of the time they are going to spend there?

    This is going to cost a ridiculous amount of money, and the project itself is ridiculous because the project hasn't even been fully thought out beyond what's going to happ

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everything this guy does stinks of scam to me. He proposes truly massive ventures backed by what appears to be a very lightweight team, and always pulls out the 'one way trip' card as an 'aha!' to wave away questions about cost or feasibility. (eg: "you may ask why NASA says this would cost 100x as much and take decades.. that's because they don't plan on a one way trip!").

    Funding at trip to Mars by selling TV coverage? Now, before that's even started to progress, announcing plans for a trip to Europa?!

    If h

    • by Yoda222 ( 943886 )

      Funding at trip to Mars by selling TV coverage? Now, before that's even started to progress, announcing plans for a trip to Europa?!

      Not the same guy.

  • It would seem to me that getting to Mars (or even the Moon) might be a better objective first.

  • When the oceans were being conquered with ships set to explore and no guarantee of returning.

    It's exciting to hear about but sobering to think about the tens of thousands who left, never returned and were forgotten 20 years later.

    I wonder if we'll see the same happen over the next century.

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      There is a difference between no guarantee of returning, and there is no possibility of you returning. Even those heading out to new colonies had a future to look forward to with opportunities well beyond the ones they were leaving behind.

      With something like this, the only guarantee is that this guy is trying to get money from the gullible. It will go nowhere.

    • [What it must have been like w]hen the oceans were being conquered with ships set to explore and no guarantee of returning.

      But we'll be killed!
      Nonsense. Simmons, what do you suppose the edge of the world looks like?
      Uh, a great cliff... Oh, in the ocean, right. So, a giant waterfall off the edge?

      Precisely. All the water pouring from the ocean for hundreds of years... Then why isn't the ocean dry?
      ...Rain! Rain must be filling it back up.

      Obviously. Now, by what mechanism would water reach into the sky to first fall?
      Ah... uhm... A bucket? No...
      Fool, think! What moves water in the air?!
      Oh, Wind!

      Truly, it does. What moves ships upon the water?

      Indeed. So, there is nothing to fear, you see?
      With a firm mast and steady sail, if the edge be reached then just like rain we shall follow our jibs into the skies!
      If you're lucky we may even wave good day to St. Peter, or meet the maker Himself!

      So, we'll be Dead?!
      Quite. Now fetch me an sturdy umbrella just in case. Columbus has volunteered to go first.

  • The radiation belts around Jupiter make that whole system a bad target for human exploration unless they can come up with some kind of personal electromagnetic shielding that can protect someone on the surface. I think, if and when shielding equipment like that becomes available, it will be for vehicles only as it will likely require a pretty decent power supply.

    A more feasible mission would be to a moon around Saturn, where the radiation is not so out of the ordinary.

    • by alanw ( 1822 )

      sorry - slip of the cheap crappy touchpad - tried to mod informative, modded down instead. posting here will undo

  • by echostorm ( 865318 ) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:21PM (#44462643)

    The radiation level at the surface of Europa is equivalent to a dose of about 5400mSv (540 rem) per day, an amount of radiation that would cause severe illness or death in human beings exposed for a single day.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm fairly sure the proposal isn't for this mission to be attempted naked.

  • "All your monoliths are belong to US"
  • Seriously?

    Who the fuck is dumb enough to envision a suicide run to Jupiter?

    And, more telling, who the fuck is dumb enough to actually GO on one of these suicide runs?

    Not quite sure where people's heads are at on this one.

    If people die in the scientific endeavor of space exploration by ACCIDENT or misadventure? It happens. It's tragic.

    But going out there knowing you're going to die, "FOR SCIENCE! []"?

    • Forget about Europa, crashing into Jupiter proper would be an awesome and fun suicide. How does the cloud cover looks like when seen firsthand, just above it then inside it? Are you better off after crossing the radiation belts (radiation wise) and how far/how long can you survive exactly.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Awesome? Maybe awesomely stupid.

        Fun? Suicide? See a shrink. SOON.

        Basically, from dropping unmanned probes into Jupiter, we already know that you just keep going down and down and down until the pressure crushes you.
        If you want that, we can drop you into the Mariana Trench in a cut-rate submersible.

        If you're LUCKY, such a death would be quick.
        If not, it could be indescribably painful for the few seconds/minutes you have left.

        • by tibit ( 1762298 )

          Of course the things you value in life must apply to everyone, by edict, or else! Who the fuck are you to tell others how to live their lives, and how to set up their values?

        • Don't take that so seriously, or feel free to do so, I was just exploring a "what if?" and I think the idea is dumb anyway, whether it's a suicide mission or not. I believe that mild fascination in the context of a totally unrealistic and unreachable scenario is harmless. Remember that tale where a girl gets eaten by a talking wolf? It's even a cultural thing.

          You never thought about silly things like which execution method would you prefer?, I would totally not do electric chair, gas chamber or injection bu

          • by Chas ( 5144 )

            You never thought about silly things like which execution method would you prefer?

            Two girls, old age, and a wild night.

            Anything else and you're not even trying.

    • I guess it's a question of perspective. I'm not saying I would do it but I can understand why someone would volunteer. It's like this: Everyone who had some kind of modern education knows the name of the first man who walked on the moon. It's a chance to be something like that again, to make history. Heck people might remember you as that crazy dude who had the most expensive suicide in the history of humanity but they still would remember your name and you would be a footnote in history for a while. I'm p
    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      All life ends in death. We're already born with our fucking heads in need of a check, according to you :)

    • How much more acceptable do you think this is? []
  • Preliminary site is up [], I quote:

    Despite what you may have read on the Internet or in the press, THIS IS NOT A CROWD-FUNDING PROJECT.

  • You know I'd rather just send a robot. Because we've never actually done that before.

    The enterprise of landing a rover on Europa - which is a literal one-way journey - is still something NASA isn't entirely sure about how to do effectively. And in that case we don't need to land food, oxygen and other life-support gear. And once you get there, we'd like to do something useful - but there's kilometers of ice we need to get through first.

    I'm all for high-stakes missions to Mars, but that's extending our reach

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington