Author Topic: Proposed Europa Missions  (Read 354092 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Proposed Europa Missions
« on: 01/27/2012 05:30 PM »
Europa orbiter study.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1 on: 01/27/2012 05:31 PM »
Europa flyby study.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #2 on: 01/27/2012 05:38 PM »
Lander study.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #3 on: 01/27/2012 07:01 PM »
This is the Jupiter Europa Orbiter Component of the Europa Jupiter System Mission, dated March 2010.

This was the Europa mission as of a couple of years ago. This was a big, expensive spacecraft. It was too big to afford. The decadal survey recommended that this mission be de-scoped (i.e. reduced), but the committee was unwilling to do that de-scoping itself because there was no obvious way to do it.

As a result of the decadal survey, NASA told JPL to go back to the drawing board and try to come up with a cheaper Europa mission. The three concept presentations that I posted earlier summarize JPL's current effort to de-scope the Europa mission. Those proposals are a smaller orbiter, a flyby mission (Jupiter orbit, but not Europa orbit) and a Europa lander.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #4 on: 05/09/2012 02:20 PM »
I missed this when it came out, but this is from the March OPAG meeting. It shows more work on the Europa lander study.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #5 on: 05/09/2012 02:26 PM »
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.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #6 on: 05/09/2012 02:27 PM »
Another summary.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #7 on: 05/09/2012 02:27 PM »
The rest of the summaries.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2012 02:28 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #8 on: 08/11/2012 06:46 PM »
Heard some interesting stuff about this last week. Cannot discuss it, but it'll probably be public soon. When it does become public, I'll have to eat some crow. (But that's okay, I've got a recipe for eating crow.)

Online ugordan

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #9 on: 08/11/2012 06:57 PM »
Can you at least drop some hints?

Offline spectre9

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #10 on: 08/11/2012 07:41 PM »
I'm still trying to pick myself up after the hint hit me on the head  :P

Thanks Blackstar. Really excited by that news  8)

Offline jnc

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #11 on: 08/11/2012 09:34 PM »
I'm still trying to pick myself up after the hint hit me on the head

So what do you think the announcement will be?

Quote
Thanks Blackstar.

Yes, those are very cool. Thanks very much for posting them. I had missed them previously (not much chatter about them).

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.

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Offline robertross

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #12 on: 08/12/2012 12:49 AM »
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.

Thanks for these!
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline spectre9

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #13 on: 08/12/2012 01:26 AM »
I like the fly by concepts.

You will get the up close science on Europa without staying too close to Jupiter and getting cooked by radiation.

Gives you better instruments like IPR and allows you to do fly bys of other targets.

Any idea if an Io fly by is at all possible?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #14 on: 08/12/2012 05:08 PM »
I have to be careful. I can say what it isn't: a Europa mission is not going to get funded anytime soon.

What it is: JPL has continued to iterate the "clipper" (flyby) mission and the results have been positive, and surprising (to me). The iteration should lower the costs even further.

So the cost of a Europa mission may now be even lower than the previous studies show.

« Last Edit: 08/12/2012 05:09 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #15 on: 08/12/2012 05:17 PM »
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.

1-Here's a tip: you should regularly go to the websites for VEXAG, OPAG, MEPAG, LEAG, and SBAG. They have now started webcasting some of their meetings. And they usually put their presentations online soon after 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. There's a lot of fascinating stuff that you can tap into if you know where to look. So the assessment groups are a good place to start.

2-I don't know about the differences in cost estimates. I could find out. However, it is possible that these were preliminary and/or internal estimates versus final/independent cost estimates.

[more in a second post]

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #16 on: 08/12/2012 05:21 PM »
[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 than what NASA and JPL commonly used. They normally did a straight up cost estimate, and those estimates are actually pretty accurate if you assume no external impacts on the program. The problem is that lots of things happen to programs in development that are outside of their control. For example, launch costs can increase during development, and no matter how good and dilligent the spacecraft designers are, they cannot control that increase. So the process we used included "threats" to development, like what happens if NASA/OMB cuts the budget for your project, forcing a stretchout? Or what if launch costs go up?

When you add in the threats, it increased the costs of the projects on average of (I think) about 40% (could have been 60%--it's in the decadal survey and you can look it up because I'm too lazy at the moment). That naturally made the advocates of various missions angry, because they argued that their projects were not that expensive, and we were saying they would be (but not their fault).

So maybe the increase that you found is due to JPL going to Aerospace Corp and getting their independent estimate, which included program threats.

Offline jnc

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #17 on: 08/12/2012 06:30 PM »
JPL has continued to iterate the "clipper" (flyby) mission and the results have been positive, and surprising (to me).

Can't wait to hear the latest+greatest! I have to say that of the three, that mission was the one I would have picked in today's budget environment. 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.

Sigh, maybe we'll be able to afford the lander some day!

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.

In my copious free time! :) (Seriously; space is my #2 hobby, see here for example about #1, at which I'm semi-professional, so after my real life, I'm kind of short on time!)

So if you don't mind I'll continue to rely on you to keep us posted on all this cool stuff happening quietly in the corners!

[Sorry to split this up, but my software is acting up and would not let me post longer.]

No problem!

Quote
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.

Hmm. That's about the right magnitude, but... I went back and looked, and the orbiter didn't show a similar increase. (Couldn't find a number for the lander in the November presentations.)

The increase may well be as a result of the Aerospace review, but my guess would be that's it's not too likely that JPL added the 'threat' factor to one, and not the other. So perhaps the Aerospace review found something else?

Probably an interesting question to ask them, though.. :)

Noel
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #18 on: 08/12/2012 09:42 PM »
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.

Risk totally rules out the lander for now. It was included simply for completeness, and (I think) because by defining a lander, you could also identify any precursor requirements that would need to be incorporated into an orbiter or flyby mission. The lander mission study made it clear that high resolution imaging of the surface is required before you can fly a lander.

Offline jnc

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #19 on: 08/12/2012 09:55 PM »
high resolution imaging of the surface is required before you can fly a lander.

Would they get enough from a fly-by, or would it require an orbiter?

(Although now that I think about it, the lander mission defined in the presentations had an orbital phase where they did a lot of imaging for selecting a landing spot - would that have been enough on its own, or would they have needed a separate imaging mission as well?)

Noel
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