Mission Type: Lander
Europa Lander Concept Study Report, https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/europa/2012study.cfm
Understanding Europa's habitability is intimately tied to understanding the three "ingredients" for life: water, chemistry, and energy. These astrobiological themes could be well addressed by a landed mission to Europa. Measurements obtained from the moon's surface could allow for direct analysis of the satellite's chemistry and mineralogy through in-situ investigations and measurements that are not possible to achieve remotely:
- A properly equipped lander could allow for sampling beneath the radiation-processed uppermost portion of Europa's icy shell, providing insights about its native composition and implications for life.
- A lander is an excellent platform from which to perform geophysical measurements to probe Europa's ice shell and subsurface ocean.
- A landed mission could permit detailed analyses of local surface geology.
Notional science objectives for this mission concept:
Europa's Composition: Understand the habitability of Europa's ocean through composition and chemistry.
Europa's Ocean and Ice Shell: Characterize the local thickness, heterogeneity, and dynamics of any ice and water layers.
Europa's Geology: Characterize a locality of high scientific interest to understand the formation and evolution of the surface at local scales.
The planning payload selected for the Europa Lander study consists of a notional set of instruments including a mass spectrometer, magnetometer, multiband seismometer package, site imaging system, Raman spectrometer, and a microscopic imager. If a Europa Lander mission is chosen for implementation at some future time, NASA would ultimately select the payload through a formal Announcement of Opportunity (AO) process.