I'm still trying to pick myself up after the hint hit me on the head
Here are summaries of the Europa studies.Yesterday I heard that the studies were delivered to NASA last week. NASA and OMB/OSTP will review the studies before they are officially released. My guess is that will happen in a month or two.
1-Yes, those are very cool. Thanks very much for posting them. I had missed them previously (not much chatter about them).2-Still processing them (will probably need to re-read them, there's an enormous amount of into there), but one thing caught my eye:tThe 'Wrapup' lists the flyby costs at $1.9B (pg. 5), but the 'Flyby Element' presentation gives it as $1.5B (pg. 24). Admittedly, the 'Wrapup' presentation is from ~5 months later, and also I haven't looked to see if there were major changes to the science packages/mission capabilites to see if that could have (reasonably) driven the costs, but an increase of $.4B in estimated cost in that time period is somewhat curious.
JPL has continued to iterate the "clipper" (flyby) mission and the results have been positive, and surprising (to me).
Here's a tip: you should regularly go to the websites ... They have now started webcasting some of their meetings. ... There is a LOT of stuff that happens in the planetary program that never gets covered in the popular media or on websites. ... So the assessment groups are a good place to start.
[Sorry to split this up, but my software is acting up and would not let me post longer.]
When we worked on the decadal survey we used a cost estimating process that was different ... When you add in the threats, it increased the costs of the projects on average of (I think) about 40% ... So maybe the increase that you found is due to JPL going to Aerospace Corp and getting their independent estimate, which included program threats.
Yes, the lander would be 'way cool', and does some interesting science neither other mission can do, but with i) the much larger price-tag for the lander (almost 2x), and bigger risk, and ii) getting basically as much science out of the fly-by, it's (to me) a no-brainer.
high resolution imaging of the surface is required before you can fly a lander.