NASA hopes to launch ambitious mission to icy Jupiter moon

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NASA hopes to launch a mission to the Jupiter moon Europa, perhaps the solar system’s best bet to host alien life, a decade or so from now, officials announced Tuesday (March 4).

The White House’s 2015 federal budget request, which was released Tuesday, allocates 5 million to help develop a mission to Europa, which harbors a potentially life-supporting ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell.

“Europa is a very challenging mission operating in a really high radiation environment, and there’s lots to do to prepare for it,” NASA chief financial officer Beth Robinson told reporters Tuesday. “We’re looking for a launch some time in the mid-2020s.” [Photos: Europa, Mysterious Icy Moon of Jupiter]

The 5 million — which represents a tiny fraction of the 7.5 billion allocated to the space agency in the 2015 request — would fund very early “pre-formulation” work for a potential Europa mission, Robinson added.

“I know people have asked about the total size [of the possible mission], and we’re frankly just not sure at this point,” she said, adding that agency officials will reach out to the scientific community to help map out the mission.

Read more here http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0306/NASA-hopes-to-launch-ambitious-mission-to-icy-Jupiter-moon-video

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“NASA hopes to launch ambitious mission to icy Jupiter moon”