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Paper: Europa Exploration: Science and Mission Priorities
Volume: 272, The Future of Solar System Exploration, 2003-2013: Community Contributions to the NRC Solar System Exploration Decadal Survey
Page: 217
Authors: Cooper, J.F.; Phillips, C.B.; Green, J.R.; Wu, X.; Carlson, R.W.; Tamppari, L.K.; Terrile, R.J.; Johnson, R.E.; Eraker, J.H.; Makris, N.C.
Abstract: This report surveys the present state of knowledge for Europa and recommends key science objectives and spacecraft missions for the next decade of 2003 - 2013 and beyond. The highest priority initial objective is to confirm the presence of a subsurface water ocean, for which the evidence from multiple observations is already very compelling but not yet definitive. This should be addressed by a coupled set of gravity, altimetry, and magnetic field measurements in Europa orbit. Other related objectives include remote surveys for recent ocean-associated activity on the surface, the determination of chemical composition for Europa's surface, atmosphere, and dust ring, global mapping of energy and composition for magnetospheric particles incident at the surface, and the search for biochemical markers of any organisms originating from habitats below the visible surface. These objectives can partly be addressed by the same initial orbiter with addition of a moderate suite of remote-sensing and in-situ analysis instruments. Alternatively, a mission with return to Earth of atmosphere and dust ring samples for chemical and isotopic analysis could achieve some of the compositional objectives. Science and engineering development are needed to support planning for lander missions in future decades.
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