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Mat KaplanNovember 26, 2013

Planetary Radio: Rise of the Europa Underground?

Planetary Scientist Alyssa Rhoden and friends have created Destination: Europa

Anybody out there NOT want a mission to Europa? Come on, you can confess to Uncle Mat. You don’t have a shred of curiosity about that vast, inviting ocean? Couldn’t care less about learning what might be living under all that ice? Get no thrill from asking the question, “Are we alone?”

Alyssa Rhoden isn’t just talking about Jupiter’s mysterious moon. She and her friends at Destination: Europa are doing something about getting us there. She tells her story on this week’s Planetary Radio.

Alyssa is a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center. She’s fascinated by Europa’s intricately shattered surface, and she’d love to know if there are lakes hiding not too far below that surface. And she’s sure tired of studying it from half a billion miles away. She’d like to see the 90 percent that wasn’t imaged by Galileo, and she’d like to peer beneath the ice with radar. 

All of this and more builds a strong case for the Europa Clipper spacecraft, a project that has nowhere near the funding required to make it a reality. The Destination: Europa website drives that case home, and suggests ways for all of us to get involved. 

You’ve heard of the Mars Underground? Well, it may be time for a Europa Underground (or Under-ice, as Alyssa suggests). Destination:Europa may be the rallying cry of this new movement. I say, let’s go.

Read more: Jupiter's moons, Europa, Europa Clipper, Planetary Radio, geology, ice worlds

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Mat Kaplan

Planetary Radio Host and Producer
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