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Europa Lander Mission: A Challenge to Find Traces of Alien Life

  • Lev Zelenyi (a1), Oleg Korablev (a2), Elena Vorobyova (a1) (a2), Maxim Martynov (a3), Efraim L. Akim (a4) and Alexander Zakahrov (a1)...
Abstract

An international effort dedicated to science exploration of Jupiter system planned by ESA and NASA in the beginning of next decade includes in-depth science investigation of Europa. In parallel to EJSM (Europa-Jupiter System Mission) Russian Space Agency and the academy of Science plan Laplace-Europa Lander mission, which will include the small telecommunication and science orbiter and the surface element: Europa Lander. In-situ methods on the lander provide the only direct possibility to assess environmental conditions, and to perform the search for signatures of life. A critical advantage of such in situ analysis is the possibility to enhance concentration and detection limits and to provide ground truth for orbital measurements. The science mission of the lander is biological, geophysical, chemical, and environmental characterizations of the Europa surface. Remote investigations from the orbit around Europa would not be sufficient to address fully the astrobiology, geodesy, and geology goals. The science objectives of the planned mission, the synergy between the Europa Lander and EJSM mission elements, and a brief description of the Laplace-Europa Lander mission are presented.

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