Should we visit Europa?

Europa

Vox has an interesting post up that looks at why Scientists think there could be life on Jupiter’s moon Europa.. Space exploration seems like a reasonable use of state money, or at least more reasonable than so many other uses so I can get behind this sort of thing. Do you think it is worth it to visit Europa?

Our best shot at finding extraterrestrial life inside the solar system isn’t on Mars. It’s on Europa: a moon of Jupiter that likely has a vast water ocean under its ultra-cold, icy surface. And if all goes as planned, NASA will begin planning an uncrewed exploration mission to Europa next year.

“We think Europa has the ingredients for life,” says Robert Pappalardo, the mission’s project scientist. “Not just liquid water, but probably the right elements and chemical energy that might permit life too.”

After years of failed attempts, NASA appears to be on the verge of finally getting funding for a mission to learn more about Europa, with dedicated money in President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget and support from Republicans in Congress.

The mission’s probe, called the Europa Clipper, would be launched in 2025 and eventually enter orbit around Jupiter, allowing it to fly by the icy moon dozens of times and gather data on the liquid ocean believed to exist under its surface.

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