Report: NASA, ESA Plan Joint Mission to Explore Jupiter Moon

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NASA is planning a joint mission with the European Space Agency to study potential signs of life on Jupiter’s Europa moon, New Scientist reported Monday.

Andy Coghlan writes Michel Blanc, a scientist at France’s Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology, said at the annual European Geosciences Union meeting that the Joint Europa Mission could be deployed in mid-2020s for a more than six-year expedition.

Blanc added an orbiter craft will deliver a lander on Europa’s surface to sample and screen material for biosignatures and the orbiter will subsequently take laser, magnetic and seismic measurements of Jupiter over a three-month period.

The orbiter would crash into Europa after gathering data on the composition of the moon’s atmosphere to identify potential life-related gases such as carbon dioxide and oxygen, Coghan reported.

NASA plans to design the lander and collaborate with ESA to build other mission components, according to Blanc.

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