Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Casey Profile Picture Thumbnail

A Mission to Europa Just Got a Whole Lot More Likely

Posted by Casey Dreier

20-11-2014 20:14 CST

Topics: Jupiter's moons, Europa, Space Policy, NASA Europa mission

A future NASA mission to Europa became more likely today with the news that Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) will assume leadership of the House's Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittee. This committee writes the House's version of the yearly funding bills that include NASA and the NSF, and is extremely influential, particularly for smaller federal agencies like NASA.

John Culberson and Bill Nye (and Europa)

John Culberson

John Culberson and Bill Nye (and Europa)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) and Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye pose with Europa during a 2014 visit to Capitol Hill.

Culberson is one of the most vocal proponents of a NASA mission to explore Jupiter's moon Europa, previously helping to provide tens of millions of dollars for crucial pre-project design studies. NASA, under pressure from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has hesitated in requesting official status for a major Europa mission after slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from the Planetary Science Division.

But with Culberson in charge of the CJS committee, NASA has a strong advocate for this mission who has the power to provide the resources it needs. If NASA requests a mission in the 2016 budget, funding would surely follow. And with the Republican party likely to hold the House for at least the next eight years, so would a certain amount of stability.

Of course, nothing's certain in politics. NASA may yet decline a request for begin a Europa mission next year, or larger issues relating to political standoffs between the Republican congress and the Democratic White House may torpedo budget deals. But just requesting a new start for Europa seems like an easy decision to me: it's bipartisan, has strong scientific backing, and is the kind of bold exploratory mission that truly engages the public. We'll see what the Administration does in its 2016 budget request, which comes out sometime in February of next year, but Europa just got a whole lot more likely today.

See other posts from November 2014


Or read more blog entries about: Jupiter's moons, Europa, Space Policy, NASA Europa mission


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Help Us Go Farther

The Planetary Fund

Help us accelerate progress in our four core enterprises: Robotic Space Exploration, Human Space Exploration, Planetary Defense, and The Search for Life.


Featured Images

Structures in the Keeler gap
Daphnis in the Keeler Gap
Mars 2020 rover artist's concept
Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS)
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - 2016: A Magnificent Year for Space Exploration

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!