NASA Competition To Seek Ideas For Europa Lander Instruments To Facilitate Alien Search
(Photo : Astronomy News/YouTube screenshot)
NASA is going to hold a competition to develop scientific equipment for a potential mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. The American space agency has reportedly requested that the instruments being designed for the contest should be aimed at hunting for alien life or analyzing prospects of colonizing the icy moon.
Jupiter’s icy moon may have watery oceans underneath its ice, which might be kept warm by the moon’s core as well as complex gravitational interactions. Scientists have speculated that the oceans may be warm enough to host some kind of alien life.
“The possibility of placing a lander on the surface of this intriguing icy moon, exploring and touching a world that might harbor life is at the heart of the Europa lander mission,” associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, said. “We want the community to be prepared for this announcement of opportunity because NASA recognizes the immense amount of work involved in preparing proposals for this potential future exploration,” he added, as reported by Tech Times.
The Europa Clipper space probe is expected to launch some time during the early 2020s. The mission will not actually land on Europa; however, it will explore the prospect of alien life on the moon and if it can be colonized for human habitation. According to Scientific American, this probe will be followed by the proposed Europa lander mission.
Republican lawmakers asked the U.S. space agency to add more equipment aboard the Europa Clipper spacecraft to facilitate the investigation of the water plumes, which are ejected from the moon’s surface. They also told NASA to send several small satellites that could orbit Europa. Incidentally, the mission to Europa received only $49.6 million in 2017 compared to the $175 million it got from Congress in 2016, according to NASA’s budget estimates.