Space missions for the next decade

Photo of the Jovian moon, Europa, taken by the Galileo spacecraft

To infinity and beyond! Well, to the middle-outer reaches of the solar system, anyway. If we can afford it. The National Research Council’s top recommendations for big space missions in the next decade:

  • visit Mars to determine if it ever had life
  • visit Jupiter’s moon, Europa, which likely has a liquid ocean underneath its icy surface that may harbor life
  • check out the atmosphere of ice giant, Uranus

I got a little excited when I saw the title of the TechNewsWorld article, thinking we were planning manned visits to Mars and Europa, but alas these visits would all be carried out with unmanned probes. Still, these missions would bring back important information about our nearest neighbors and the potential for life beyond Earth.

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6 thoughts on “Space missions for the next decade

  1. Exactly. And if we don’t get cracking with the manned space exploration stuff, how are we going to develop warp technology in time to attract the attention of a passing Vulcan survey ship?

  2. Ya know– I realize that Europa is SUPPOSED to be ice covered oceans of water or methane or whatever, but the PHOTO makes it look like a giant redneck has been off-roading the dunes. I’m jus’ sayin’…

  3. Europa has intrigued me since I learned about the theory that the surface could be covered in ice and underneath the ice cover there could be an underwater world with vibrant life, etc. I would be thrilled to learn what we can gather about it by ramming a probe through the ice cover… However, it does concern me that we could, in theory at least, ram this probe right dead smack middle of life—and possibly end some of it too.

    And no, the fascination over this moon has nothing to do with my (icy) Scandinavian roots and ice hockey as my favorite past time hobby.

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