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Exploring Europa’s Ocean: A Challenge for Marine Technology of this Century

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The Galileo spacecraft has sent back tantalizing image data hinting at a vast ocean beneath a thick ice crust on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons which is about the size of our moon. NASA plans to establish definitively whether this ocean exists with the Europa Orbiter mission to be launched in 2003. Should the Europa ocean be a reality, and this looks quite likely, it will mean that another planet besides Earth has an old, deep, salty ocean; the consequences of such an ocean are profound, and there are good reasons to be prepared to take the next step, an in-situ examination of this ocean. A deep subsurface in-situ study of another planetary body has never been attempted, and the challenges are considerable. In this paper we address the technology to be developed to be ready for this exciting mission, and we seek to initiate the exchanges needed between the marine technology and space exploration communities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA 2: Deep Ocean Engineering Inc., San Leandro CA

Publication date: 01 January 1999

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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