Fightin’ for Europa

Backers of a NASA mission to the Jovian moon Europa got some good news in the final version of 2006 budget, which included report language calling on NASA to begin work on a Europa mission to replace the cancellation of the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), and to include a new start for that mission in its 2007 budget proposal. However, The Planetary Society, citing a report in the subscription-only publication Washington Aerospace Briefing, said Wednesday that NASA has decided not to include the mission in its FY07 budget. The society has no plans to take this lying down: “Whether or not is in the budget request, we will lobby in Congress for its inclusion in the NASA program.” Europa has long been a high priority for planetary scientists, although one wonders whether it is as high a priority today compared to Titan, whose stock seems to have risen in the last year because of the interesting results collected the Cassini/Huygens mission.

1 comment to Fightin’ for Europa

  • It will be interesting to see which world stays most forward in the scientific limelight. Titan’s (relatively) Earth-like weather and “geology,” or Europa as a potential abode for life. I’ve heard little recent speculation about Titan and extant life, although some people at the recent American Geophysical Union conference discussed the possibility of a deep ocean under the ice similar to Europa’s.

    — Donald