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A mission to explore Jovian moon Europa, considered one of the solar system's better candidates to host life thanks to its possession of a liquid water ocean, is now in NASA's sights after the US government last week signed off $US75m in funds to scope a future visit. The money was allocated in the “Consolidated and Further …

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FAIL

Re: Funding in the states

NASA's problem is that it's not in control of NASA. The House & Senate subcommittees that allocate funds also issue requirements as to what NASA spends its money on. SLS is the biggest example of these. 16 billion dollars between 2012 & the end of 2017 for Orion & the first SLS flight in December 2017.

A complete waste of money, IMHO. For a fraction of that, they could buy Falcon Heavies and save a fortune, allowing them to do Mars & Jupiter & Jupiters moons & the outer planets/moons as well.

Another aspect of the problem is that the politicians are prone to change their priorities so at the start of any program, there's no guarantee the funding won't be cut prior to the end of the program.

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Happy

Re: Funding in the states

The US needs to get its science funding fixed.

There. Fixed that for ya :)

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Re: Funding in the states

An even bigger problem is the presence of complete and utter idiots on said sub-committees for science:

Big Bang theory a 'lie from the pit of hell'

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Anonymous Coward

Europa the funds

I builda the spaceship..

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Joke

Re: Europa the funds

Sorry Luigi, you're reading it wrong. It's to fund a mission to Europa not Europe.

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The Chinese will beat us to it.

And then get blatted by a big alien.

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Anonymous Coward

Why send probes, send people.....

Sure it will cost more, but the science, so much more can be accomplished with real people on the ground (Talking Mars here not Europa)

Actually for once do a true global mission, get Europe, China & Russia working together and send a manned mission to mars!

I would suggest including America, but we all know if China is involved they won't be, and I'd rather work with the Chinese given a choice...

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FAIL

"Why send probes, send people....."

Spoken like someone with no idea of how far away Jupiter is.

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Re: send people

You go.

Europa is cold this time of year.

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FAIL

@johne smith 19

"Spoken like someone with no idea of how far away Jupiter is."

Spoken like someone who did not read the post to which they replied.

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'Why send probes, send people.....'

Because Jupiter's radiation belts would cook you.

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Why not send people?

Because it's a one-way trip with current technology.

We don't yet have the capability to send a manned craft capable of landing on Mars and returning home.

Heck, we haven't even done that with an unmanned craft yet!

As for Europa - you'd cook.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, right

The U.S. has all sorts of financial issue but some in their gov'ment spend money like it's water. The brain drain is in the government, which is clueless and corrupt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah, right

The U.S. has all sorts of financial issue but some in their gov'ment spend money like it's water. The brain drain is in the government, which is clueless and corrupt.

Seems more of a global problem that one, not just American - as for NASA, have they heard of kickstarter?

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Meh

Give the $75m

to a joint rcexplorer.se-SPG venture instead! David would MacGyver a rocket, probe, submersible ice drilling probe and be able to send awesome HD photage back to El Reg well within budget.

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Trollface

Best part about NASA

- All that spacey exploring stuff

- New science and knowledge

But best of all:

- Americans pay for it!

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Boffin

Re: Best part about NASA

Well the Chinese are paying for more and more of it.

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Thumb Up

It's an exciting mission but very tough

However one of the interesting little factoids from the NIAM's presentations was that using a solar sail could have cut the 35 transit time from Earth to helipause of Voyager to about 10 yrs (with the same science payload mass).

This was a design mfg on Earth and unfurled in space. Later presentation described on orbit construction machines which could (in principal) make a very light weight framework as it would not have had to survive launch loads.

Perhaps they should start backwards with the question "How big a rocket can we get our hands on and what does that give us in terms of payload to Europa?"

Thumbs up for this. Let's just repeat Europa has liquid water on it in large amounts. While Mars seems the most Earthlike (size, gravity) there is a lot of real estate in the solar system.

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Alien

Tesco special offer 2051

Frozen at sea Europacod fish. £9.99 kg

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tesco special offer 2051

only 5% Europahorse

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Alien

Simples.

First mission to Europa - orbiter and two surface probes. Just listen to the interior for several months. Nothing to hear? echo probe the interior. Do not attempt to penetrate surface. Then decide what to do next.

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Coat

How much?????

$3.5bn???? Dang, you could nearly buy a Chicago politician for that!

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Alien

We just need to find the monolith.....

And all this stuff about life on Europa will sort itself out.

More seriously, we need to figure out what NASA should be doing in the age of austerity. I vote for more robotic missions, detecting asteroids and other earth-threatening objects and supporting cheap orbital access. Got to put manned missions on hold until we get cheap access to orbit licked.

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Boffin

What should NASA be doing?

A: Doing research that the Private sector ISN'T doing. Spaceplanes or a Shuttle-replacement come to mind. Alternative propulsion theories, alternative fuels (metallic hydrogen is a LONG way off but it's worth checking out) and so on.

B: Sending probes/orbiters/landers to other planets and doing data analysis.

C: Doing Earth observation and data analysis.

It SHOULDN'T be competing with ULA/SpaceX et al to build big expensive rockets, or at least should be paying for it out of its own budget. NASA has a lot of old, aging infrastructure and some of it has little to do with points A to C above.

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gah

we can blow trillions for banks to buy up their competition, millions to fly presidential families to vacations around the world (with their multiton armored vehicles, royal retinues and security/military personnel. We can throw away more in foreign aid and to people who haven't contributed anything to society other than crime statistics in three generations.

But we can't find money for our own supercollider, or a Mars mission or a deep solar system probe.

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NASA needs to learn from the politicians, Namely, Sarah Palin, or get her to ask for the money. Example:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/bridge-nowhere-010903171.html

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/alaskan-town-home-airport-no-planes-harbor-no-230803871.html

She must give GREAT head!

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