The American scientific community has more geologists and biologists, so they are more interested in the search for life. Plus rocks.The European community has a different bias. They have more scientists interested in magnetosphere physics. Ganymede is therefore where they want to go.
Without looking this up, I think that the issue is that Ganymede's ocean is not as thick and scientists do not believe that it touches the core. In other words, it is water sandwiched between two layers of ice, whereas Europa's ocean is believed to have rock on the bottom and ice on top.
It isn't that the European scientific community is any less interested in Europa (or for that matter geology or biology...) it's simply that the technical challenges would push a European Europa mission well over the L-class mission financial threshold and so could only ever be part of an international collaboration. Remember JUICE is the phoenix from the ashes of ESA's contribution to EJSM, JGO.
Well one simple solution is to clear a landing zone for the lander like they used to do in SE Asia for improvise jungle helo pads. Maybe with a cluster kinetic impacters that will take some close up images before impacting with a separate launch several weeks prior to the lander launch. Of course this idea is wild & wacky. Probably not workable.
"On Earth, everywhere where there's liquid water, we find life," said Robert Pappalardo, a senior research scientist at Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory in California, who led the design of the Europa Clipper."Mars exploration is part of the bigger picture of human exploration," said Pappalardo. "However, part of Nasa's mission is to go explore and that should include places that are an extremely high scientific priority. It really is one of the most profound questions we can ask: is there life elsewhere in the solar system?"Whereas Mars might have been habitable billions of years ago, he said, Europa might be a habitable environment for life today. If it took 50 years before humans ended up sending probes and then landers to Europa, Pappalardo said, "we're going to look back and say we should have been doing this all along Ė and that would be tragic".
Here is a link to an update on the status of the Europa Clipper mission. I wrote it as a guest on Van Kane's "Future Planetary Exploration" website. http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2013/05/europa-clipper-update.htmlI hope that it answers some questions about the mission.
Thanks for that link. Pretty sad state of affairs that Congress have to 'kick' NASA into putting some money into this program.
There is, of course, a lot more that could be said about the whole subject, but I'd have to start writing a textbook.
Quote from: Blackstar on 05/13/2013 08:05 PMThere is, of course, a lot more that could be said about the whole subject, but I'd have to start writing a textbook.You might want to start doing that, or at least a book of some sort on the subject. The world will thank you for it. Actually, it probably won't, but it should. Such is the way of the world.
Dunno if this is accurate, but it does seem to be a case of what I mentioned in the previous post, where the decadal survey essentially said to protect Discovery and research budgets before giving money to flagships, but the administration is doing the opposite. Of course, this could also be interpreted as the administration saying to Congress: "Okay, if you want to earmark money for Europa, we'll cut it out of other things that you think are important too. You're welcome."http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=44031"After removing essentially all of funds added by Congress to Planetary Science, NASA and and others in the Administration have further chosen to reallocate significant funds from present planetary research and Discovery budgets to pay for new studies in support of a future Europa mission. The next Discovery call will certainly be delayed. The impact to research programs will be severe - further reduced selection rates can be anticipated. Might existing awards be retroactively reduced? Damage is made worse by the fact that these cuts are being implemented in the final months of the fiscal year."
1-I imagine this will result in yet another tug of war between the various sides which will no doubt do no one any good in the end.2-That said and I am aware of what the survey recommended but you have to admit we do seem to have a number of quite vocal scientific proponents in favour of the Europa mission so it is not like there isn't support for it out there.