An Impacting Descent Probe for Europa and the Other Galilean Moons of Jupiter

An Impacting Descent Probe for Europa and the Other Galilean Moons of Jupiter We present a study of an impacting descent probe that increases the science return of spacecraft orbiting or passing an atmosphere-less planetary bodies of the solar system, such as the Galilean moons of Jupiter. The descent probe is a carry-on small spacecraft (<100 kg), to be deployed by the mother spacecraft, that brings itself onto a collisional trajectory with the targeted planetary body in a simple manner. A possible science payload includes instruments for surface imaging, characterisation of the neutral exosphere, and magnetic field and plasma measurement near the target body down to very low-altitudes (~1 km), during the probe’s fast (~km/s) descent to the surface until impact. The science goals and the concept of operation are discussed with particular reference to Europa, including options for flying through water plumes and after-impact retrieval of very-low altitude science data. All in all, it is demonstrated how the descent probe has the potential to provide a high science return to a mission at a low extra level of complexity, engineering effort, and risk. This study builds upon earlier studies for a Callisto Descent Probe for the former Europa-Jupiter System Mission of ESA and NASA, and extends them with a detailed assessment of a descent probe designed to be an additional science payload for the NASA Europa Mission. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png "Earth, Moon and Planets" Springer Journals

An Impacting Descent Probe for Europa and the Other Galilean Moons of Jupiter

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Physics; Astronomy, Observations and Techniques; Planetology; Space Sciences (including Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Exploration and Astronautics) ; Astrophysics and Astroparticles
ISSN
0167-9295
eISSN
1573-0794
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11038-017-9508-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We present a study of an impacting descent probe that increases the science return of spacecraft orbiting or passing an atmosphere-less planetary bodies of the solar system, such as the Galilean moons of Jupiter. The descent probe is a carry-on small spacecraft (<100 kg), to be deployed by the mother spacecraft, that brings itself onto a collisional trajectory with the targeted planetary body in a simple manner. A possible science payload includes instruments for surface imaging, characterisation of the neutral exosphere, and magnetic field and plasma measurement near the target body down to very low-altitudes (~1 km), during the probe’s fast (~km/s) descent to the surface until impact. The science goals and the concept of operation are discussed with particular reference to Europa, including options for flying through water plumes and after-impact retrieval of very-low altitude science data. All in all, it is demonstrated how the descent probe has the potential to provide a high science return to a mission at a low extra level of complexity, engineering effort, and risk. This study builds upon earlier studies for a Callisto Descent Probe for the former Europa-Jupiter System Mission of ESA and NASA, and extends them with a detailed assessment of a descent probe designed to be an additional science payload for the NASA Europa Mission.

Journal

"Earth, Moon and Planets"Springer Journals

Published: Aug 1, 2017

References

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