Europa Missions — Back In Time (1):

Statement by Administrator Daniel S. Goldin on the Release of New Galileo Spacecraft Images of Europa:

August 13, 1996

“These fantastic new images of an icy moon of Jupiter are reminiscent of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean on our planet. The lack of craters, the cracks and signs of movement, all indicate that this might be young ice on a dynamic surface. It raises the possibility of a liquid ocean on Europa, the only other place in our solar system where we suspect such an ocean might exist.

“These images, dramatic as they are, are not the best Galileo will provide. These are distant snapshots taken during Galileo’s encounter with a different moon, Ganymede. We’ll shoot a whole photo album when Galileo takes its targeted pass at Europa in December.

“We’re not going to jump the gun. These pictures do not prove the existence of liquid water on Europa, and the higher-resolution pictures yet to come may not prove it. A few days ago, I greeted the possibility of ancient microbial life on Mars with skeptical optimism, and invited further scientific examination and debate. I greet the new pictures of Europa in the same light.

“The pictures are exciting and compelling, but not conclusive. The potential for liquid water on Europa is an intriguing possibility, and another step in our quest to explore the solar system, the stars, and the answer to the great mystery of whether life exists anywhere else in the cosmos.

“We won’t wait for all the answers. We’ll release the data as soon as it’s available, and share the excitement of discovery not only with scientists, but with the American public, with educators, and especially with children.

This is their space program, the American space program, and they should share in the awe and wonder of exploration.

“Once again, NASA will ask the scientific process to work. We’ll ask the best minds in the world to analyze these pictures, and the pictures from our targeted pass at Europa. Then we’ll ask the scientific community to suggest the best way to follow up on these fascinating findings. As always, NASA will seek to continue to expand knowledge, and find the fastest, best and most efficient ways to further this research.”

Where there’s water, there’s life.

That interstellar axiom is the basis for one of NASA’s top priorities in coming years-sending a probe to the Jovian moon Europa-according to Dan Goldin, chief administrator of the nation’s space agency.

Believed to have a watery ocean, Europa is one of the best candidates in the solar system for harboring some form of life outside of Earth, Goldin told a nearly full Strong Auditorium.

GOLDIN: What I say is the space program is too important to the future of America. Young people need to be able to dream and visualize. Being against the Evil Empire was what got me going in the morning and now the young people are saying are there planets around other stars? Is life unique? Can I be the first astronaut to set foot on Mars? Will I be in that submarine that goes under the ice of Europa and swims around?

Europa Orbiter History — Fly the Orbiter First:

On top of this, NASA was insisting, with the support of the White House and the Office of Management and Budget that the Europa Orbiter mission was far more important.

But the combination of this and the other developments led to explicit orders from NASA to cancel the 2004 Pluto launch, with NASA concentrating its resources on launching the more technically difficult Europa mission in 2006, and delaying the Pluto mission to later in the decade, if at all.

When Dan Goldin tentatively scheduled the Europa launch ahead of the Pluto launch two years ago, he reportedly said: “Nobody gives a damn about Pluto.”

They are sending a Probe to Jupiter and according to this article Europa Ganymede and Callisto will not be studied?!?!
EUROPA should be Number 1 on the priority list.

I’m so upset by this article:

In the late nineties, PKE was moved into a joint program with probes to the Jovian moon Europa and to the Sun. All were to go around Jupiter (which would come into position to give a gravity assist to Pluto around 2003). But in September 2000, large cost overruns in the joint program led NASA’s space science chief, Edward Weiler, to kill PKE in favor of the Europa mission, which apparently had more political support.

The Planetary Society led a public campaign against the cancellation, but what really moved Weiler was a rebellion in the planetary science community. Nobody was against Europa, but there were compelling reasons why Pluto was more urgent: its atmosphere might “snow out” as it moved into a more distant part of its orbit, every passing year meant more of the planet going into a decades-long night, and a Jupiter gravity-assist opportunity would disappear for a decade after 2006. In December 2000, Weiler revived the idea, now as a competition open to groups beyond JPL for a program of under $500 million. But when the George W. Bush Administration came into office a month later, its budget office promptly cancelled Pluto in favor of Europa.

Friend of science.

Dan Goldin nurtured space science at NASA, including a planned Europa mission that will search for life on the Jovian moon, even as funding for human space flight dropped significantly during his tenure.

You’ve spoken so eloquently about the importance of exploration. Are there places on this planet you’d like to explore?

Daniel Goldin: The South Pole, I’d like to go there. Antarctica, absolutely. We might learn much about the origins of life there. There’s an isolated lake there called Lake Vostok that’s millions of years old, untouched by our atmosphere. It’s part of the Antarctic ice shelf. I don’t know what’s in that lake. If — no, when — we drop an aquabot through that ice, I’d like to be there. That simulates a mission we’re going to have to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. We found a frozen ice crust over this moon and we think there’s a liquid water ocean underneath. I don’t know if I could ever get to Europa. The radiation level is too high, but we’re going to put a submarine through miles of ice on Europa and it will melt through that ice. If there’s an ocean there and it turns on its lights, God only knows what we’re going to see! So I’ll get some sense of that in Lake Vostok in the Antarctic.

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.