|Title||The exploitation of Europa ice and water basins:: an assessment on required technological developments, on system design approaches and on relevant expected benefits to space and Earth based activities|
|Author(s)||Simonetta Di Pippo , Raffaele Mugnuolo, Paolo Vielmo, Walter Prendin|
Planetary and Space Science
Europa is likely to be the only object in the Solar System to share with Earth the presence of massive liquid water bodies, condition essential for sustaining biological processes; the discovery of extraterrestrial forms of life in this environment would have a scientifical impact of the greatest importance.
An in-situ exploration of Europa ice crust and of the possible underlaying water masses is considered; this mission appears an extremely challenging undertaking because of the quite new environment and of the operative requirements in which equipment designed to carry out long distance space activities would be asked to work.
A very complex mission structure, split into a number of integrated and cooperating vehicles has to be envisaged; the attention is anyway here concentrated on the critical mission phase in which a specialized vehicle, a Probe, would penetrate through the satellite ice crust and would deploy into a liquid water environment an instrumentation package for in-situ exploration.
The complexity and novelty of this operational scenario require the identification, development and experimental validation of a number of new technologies and system design approaches which are very briefly analyzed. The following areas are considered of particular interest:
|Categories||Hot-Point Drills, Thermal Drilling|
|Citation||Simonetta Di Pippo , Raffaele Mugnuolo, Paolo Vielmo, Walter Prendin ( 1999 ) The exploitation of Europa ice and water basins:: an assessment on required technological developments, on system design approaches and on relevant expected benefits to space and Earth based activities. Planetary and Space Science , 47 , 921-933 . doi: 10.1016/S0032-0633(99)00012-4|