House tells NASA to stop messing around, start planning two Europa missions
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20-05-2016, 12:36 AM
House tells NASA to stop messing around, start planning two Europa missions
http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/05/h...-missions/

Quote:Planetary scientists have identified Jupiter's icy moon of Europa as one of their top targets for exploration, believing that its warm interior oceans may well harbor life. A new study published just this week, authored by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, found that conditions in the oceans on Europa may indeed be Earth-like and capable of harboring life.

Despite the wishes of the planetary science community to further investigate Europa, NASA has been wary of mounting such a mission because of the high cost—well above $1 billion. Additionally, planetary science hasn't been a priority in President Obama's NASA budgets, and the space agency has preferred to focus most of its robotic solar system exploration on Mars. The red planet is easier to reach, and NASA says it wants to explore Mars further to enable future human missions.

Congress has been more interested in planetary science, however. And in particular, the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA's budget, John Culberson (R-Texas), has fancied Europa. Even when NASA wasn't asking for Europa funds, the congressman was funneling money to the scientists at the California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Between the 2013 and 2016 fiscal years, NASA requested just $45 million in Europa funding, but Congress appropriated $395 million. For fiscal year 2017, NASA requested $49.6 million in Europa funding, but a House appropriations bill released this week by Culberson's committee proposes $260 million for mission planning and development.


Banana_zorro

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20-05-2016, 01:29 AM
RE: House tells NASA to stop messing around, start planning two Europa missions
The rule is "don't plan farther than the next administration". Too many times we've got started on projects and the next administration killed them, then scolded NASA for pissing away money on "failed" projects.
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20-05-2016, 01:51 AM
RE: House tells NASA to stop messing around, start planning two Europa missions
I'm guessing there's gold in them thar hills.

By whom is Culberson sponsored? Mining and energy companies?

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20-05-2016, 02:33 AM
RE: House tells NASA to stop messing around, start planning two Europa missions
*crackle*

Hello Houston...this is Europa.

No need to fund exploration missions. Keep your $! Existence of life is already confirmed but no sign of intelligence here....so far.

*crackle*

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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20-05-2016, 02:45 AM
RE: House tells NASA to stop messing around, start planning two Europa missions
NASA is accused of pissing away money, rightly so - but government can only blame themselves.

The "waste" is largely due to government requiring x% of funds going to specialist skills job creation. Many NASA projects were created for the sole purpose of giving engineers and scientists something to do.

The shuttle programme was deliberately over engineered and wasteful. The government required that a large percentage of Shuttle parts be sourced locally creating more inefficiency. Space X is doing what the shuttle did at a much lower cost. The reduced complexity makes it safer. The Saturn 5 used for the first moon landing was a better design in terms of cost, safety and cargo capacity compared with the Shuttle. It could cope with an engine failure on the first and second stages without stopping the mission.

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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