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August 17, 2010 5:08 PM   Subscribe

The Ice Fracture Explorer is Joseph Shoer's concept for an unmanned expedition into the oceans of Europa. [via]
posted by brundlefly (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm in.

Oh wait..unmanned?

No fuck you, I'm in. Tie me to the outside with twine. Do it. I'm ready now.
posted by The Whelk at 5:35 PM on August 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thanks, that's a really cool link. I've always been fascinated with proposals to land explorers on Europa. I'd trade 100 missions to have people piss and play golf on Mars, for just one to send robots into Europa's ocean. Fortunately the math on expenses works out the other way around. I just hope I live long enough to see it. Not that there are any guarantees, but it would be super-exciting to see a completely independent biome, to see what was the same and was different. And that 1 in a million shot at seeing some kind of swimming Europan creature... I think I'd die.
posted by Humanzee at 5:40 PM on August 17, 2010


Lobsterus jovianus? Even Google doesn't know what this tag means.

Hey, Whelk, I've got some rubber bands and duct tape. Scoot over a little and I'll share.
posted by Quietgal at 5:53 PM on August 17, 2010


All these worlds are mine, motherbitches!
posted by cthuljew at 5:58 PM on August 17, 2010


All my knowledge of Europe comes from 2010 (published in 1982). Have we learned anything since then?
posted by smackfu at 5:58 PM on August 17, 2010


We should have sent probes to most of Jupiter's and Saturn's moons by now, with multiple probes and landers going to the interesting ones. NASA should have a budget of about 50 billion at least, with a large and solar system exploring unmanned space program.

And a moon base, of course.
posted by nomadicink at 5:59 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


My plan for exploring Titan involves sending me there. One way is fine. I'll deal.

Greenberg's popular book on Europa is a great read, lots of absolutely fascinating science and also lots of NASA personalities and politics and snark.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:07 PM on August 17, 2010


It has long been known that the enourmous Methane / fire belching hyperintelligemt cetaceans of Titan are the most fearsome creatures in the galaxy. The entire Jovian system was irradiated to stop them in the 1500s by Gallaleo with the help of an unknown physician referred to in some texts simply as "the doctor."
posted by humanfont at 6:08 PM on August 17, 2010


I'll just go on record now as saying "I told you so" and leave it at that. Carry on.
posted by hal9k at 6:11 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


WHICH PART OF "EXCEPT EUROPA" DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?
posted by GuyZero at 6:15 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


humanfront, any Titanian cetaceans are going to have to content themselves with living in something the size of one of the USian Great Lakes which, as far as we know, dries up for 13 Earth years at a time.
posted by localroger at 6:16 PM on August 17, 2010




Quietgal: "Lobsterus jovianus? Even Google doesn't know what this tag means."

Here.
posted by brundlefly at 6:32 PM on August 17, 2010


I like it, except it involves putting an RTG (radioactive thermal generator) in a probe on a possibly live biosphere. If that RTG was to just sit around in its titanium shell on the surface that might be ok. But putting it in a lander that is guaranteed to be crushed by planetary tidal forces right above a possibly living ocean: No, it won't fly.

This is a big problem with ET in general. We don't know if there's a way we can look for him without killing him.
posted by chairface at 7:09 PM on August 17, 2010


Huh. Just a couple days ago, EarthSky had a short feature on Bill Stone and his Endurance robotic submarine, which has been testing at a frozen lake in Antarctica (download the 8 minute interview here).

"The ice at West Lake Bonney was just a few meters thick, compared to the ice on Jupiter’s moon Europa which is believed to be at least a thousand times thicker. Astronomers think that there’s liquid water below that ice, and possibly life. But Stone said the West Lake Bonney was a good place to test the robot."

Drill through the ice, drop the robot in, hope it comes back to the hole later with results.
posted by intermod at 7:58 PM on August 17, 2010


Brundlefly: thank you. This proves that MetaFilter is smarter than Google. Except me, of course.
posted by Quietgal at 8:49 PM on August 17, 2010


intermod - the ice is 10-100 km thick, any exposed water freezes instantly when exposed
posted by exhilaration at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2010


All my knowledge of Europe comes from 2010 (published in 1982). Have we learned anything since then?

Well, turns out there are actually people there!
posted by coolguymichael at 11:13 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


More about Bill Stone who has some NASA contracts to develop semi-autonamous ROV. He's also a pioneer in rebreather technology.
posted by atrazine at 1:24 PM on August 18, 2010


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