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    Penetrators for in situ subsurface investigations of Europa

    Gowen, R.A. and Smith, A. and Fortes, Andrew Dominic and Barber, S.J. and Brown, P. and Church, P. and Collinson, G.A. and Coates, Andrew J. and Collins, G. and Crawford, Ian and Dehant, V. and Chela-Flores, J. and Griffiths, Andrew D. and Grindrod, Peter M. and Gurvits, L.I. and Hagermann, A. and Hussmann, H. and Jaumann, R. and Jones, A.P. and Joy, K.H. and Karatekin, O. and Miljkovic, K. and Palomba, E. and Pike, W.T. and Prieto-Ballesteros, O. and Raulin, F. and Sephton, M.A. and Sheridan, S. and Sims, M. and Storrie-Lombardi, M.C. and Ambrosi, R. and Fielding, J. and Fraser, G.W. and Gao, Y. and Jones, Geraint H. and Kargl, G. and Karl, W.J. and Macagnano, A. and Mukherjee, A. and Muller, J.P. and Phipps, A. and Pullan, D. and Richter, L. and Sohl, F. and Snape, J. and Sykes, J. and Wells, N. (2011) Penetrators for in situ subsurface investigations of Europa. Advances in Space Research 48 (4), pp. 725-742. ISSN 0273-1177.

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    Abstract

    We present the scientific case for inclusion of penetrators into the Europan surface, and the candidate instruments which could significantly enhance the scientific return of the joint ESA/NASA Europa-Jupiter System Mission (EJSM). Moreover, a surface element would provide an exciting and inspirational mission highlight which would encourage public and political support for the mission. Whilst many of the EJSM science goals can be achieved from the proposed orbital platform, only surface elements can provide key exploration capabilities including direct chemical sampling and associated astrobiological material detection, and sensitive habitability determination. A targeted landing site of upwelled material could provide access to potential biological material originating from deep beneath the ice. Penetrators can also enable more capable geophysical investigations of Europa (and Ganymede) interior body structures, mineralogy, mechanical, magnetic, electrical and thermal properties. They would provide ground truth, not just for the orbital observations of Europa, but could also improve confidence of interpretation of observations of the other Jovian moons. Additionally, penetrators on both Europa and Ganymede, would allow valuable comparison of these worlds, and gather significant information relevant to future landed missions. The advocated low mass penetrators also offer a comparatively low cost method of achieving these important science goals. A payload of two penetrators is proposed to provide redundancy, and improve scientific return, including enhanced networked seismometer performance and diversity of sampled regions. We also describe the associated candidate instruments, penetrator system architecture, and technical challenges for such penetrators, and include their current status and future development plans.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Penetrators, Europa, astrobiology, EJSM
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences > UCL/Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Sciences
    Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2011 07:45
    Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 09:59
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3822

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