By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration
Since its discovery in 1610, Europa - considered one of Jupiter's 4 huge moons - has been an item of curiosity to astronomers and planetary scientists. a lot of this curiosity stems from observations made via NASA's Voyager and Galileo spacecraft and from Earth-based telescopes indicating that Europa's floor is sort of younger, with little or no facts of cratering, and made mostly of water ice.
More lately, theoretical types of the jovian process and Europa have steered that tidal heating could have led to the life of liquid water, and maybe an ocean, underneath Europa's floor. NASA's ongoing Galileo undertaking has profoundly improved our figuring out of Europa and the dynamics of the jovian process, and should let us constrain theoretical versions of Europa's subsurface structure.
Meanwhile, because the time of the Voyagers, there was a revolution in our realizing of the boundaries of existence in the world. lifestyles has been detected thriving in environments formerly considered untenable - round hydrothermal vent structures at the seafloor, deep underground in basaltic rocks, and inside of polar ice. in different places within the sun procedure, together with on Europa, environments considered appropriate with existence as we all know it in the world are actually thought of attainable, or perhaps possible. Spacecraft missions are being deliberate that could be able to proving their existence.
Against this history, the distance stories Board charged its Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) to accomplish a complete learn to evaluate present wisdom approximately Europa, define a technique for destiny spacecraft missions to Europa, and establish possibilities for complementary Earth-based experiences of Europa. (See the preface for an entire assertion of the charge.)