- Press Release
- February 23, 2024
Science Goals and Mission Architecture of the Europa Lander Mission Concept
Europa is a premier target for advancing both planetary science and astrobiology, as well as for opening a new window into the burgeoning field of comparative oceanography.
The potentially habitable subsurface ocean of Europa may harbor life, and the globally young and comparatively thin ice shell of Europa may contain biosignatures that are readily accessible to a surface lander.
Europa’s icy shell also offers the opportunity to study tectonics and geologic cycles across a range of mechanisms and compositions. Here we detail the goals and mission architecture of the Europa Lander mission concept, as developed from 2015 through 2020. The science was developed by the 2016 Europa Lander Science Definition Team (SDT), and the mission architecture was developed by the preproject engineering team, in close collaboration with the SDT.
In 2017 and 2018, the mission concept passed its mission concept review and delta-mission concept review, respectively. Since that time, the preproject has been advancing the technologies, and developing the hardware and software, needed to retire risks associated with technology, science, cost, and schedule.
Full paper (open access)