January has been a good year for organizing budgets in the USA. The White House has planned the fiscal year, taking into consideration all priorities that have been set at the end of 2014. NASA is an important tool to evolution of mankind, so the sum that has been destined for it is $18.5 billion only for space agency. From this particular amount, there are about 30 million dollars allocated for Europa, Jupiter’s moon that has big chances to develop alien life, taking into consideration all the planets and their moons from the entire solar system. Because the budget wasn’t set for such a mission of NASA until now, the potential journey to Europa was just a plan and a dream to the researchers, but now they can pack their best suits to enter the new realm. NASA officials wrote about it in a summary of the proposed budget.
“For the first time, the budget supports the formulation and development of a Europa Mission, allowing NASA to begin project formulation, Phase A.”
Taking into consideration that the fiscal year in the US begins in the 1st day of October, it is not a certainty that this project will actually get in the 2016 fiscal years. Also, the Congress must approve the final plan that the White House has proposed, so a few more steps have to be made. A good example in this case is the Europa mission that was planned for the 2015 fiscal year and for which President Barack Obama has allocated $15 million, but after measuring the possibilities and the aspects of it more, the Congress changes the number into 100. Yes, $100 million for the Europa mission, as compared to $15 million. So NASA should keep it positive this year too.
The plan sounds like this: a concept machine developed by NASA engineers and scientists, named Europa Clipper, will visit Jupiter and make 45 flybys of the 3.100 kilometres-wide Europa, in 3.5 years. The Clipper’s task is to study the ocean of liquid water that Euopra has, even if it is hidden deep inside beneath an icy shell.
David Senske of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Europa Clipper pre-project deputy project scientist believes that
“Sounding the ice shell would be key. We have a preconceived notion of what a lander looks like,” Senske told Space.com in December at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. “What we find may not support our preconceived notion.”
Image Source: Keck Observatory