Europa Lander is a concept for a potential future mission that would look for signs of life in the icy surface material of Jupiter's moon Europa.
The moon is thought to contain a global ocean of salty liquid water beneath its frozen crust, and if life exists in that ocean, signs of its existence, called biosignatures, could potentially find their way to the surface, where a spacecraft could sample and study them.
In order to investigate whether signs of life can be detected in Europa's surface material, a spacecraft would land on Europa and collect samples from about 4 inches (10 centimeters) beneath the surface. This is a depth at which the complex chemistry of materials from the ocean below would be protected from the damaging radiation that exists in space around Jupiter.
The samples would be analyzed by a miniature laboratory within the robotic lander, similar to the way samples on Mars have been studied by landers and rovers on the Red Planet. In addition to its onboard chemical analysis lab, a Europa Lander mission might also carry a microscope and a camera, along with a seismometer to detect geologic activity such as eruptions or the shifting of Europa's ice crust.
2020 Europa / Ocean Worlds Lander Virtual Meeting
The Europa Lander pre-project team held a 2-hour virtual meeting on May 14th, to bring the science community up to speed on the status of the Europa Lander mission concept. Approximately 400 people attended the event, which was held entirely online due to COVID-19 concerns. Meeting slides and video recording are available below.
Welcome to Attendees
Science Goals of the Europa / Ocean Worlds Ladner concept
Mission Concept Overview
Flight System Overview
Lander Sampling Chain, Surface Phase, and Sampling Concepts
Surface Excavation and Sample Collection
AbSciCon 2019 Workshop on Instrumentation for the In Situ Exploration of Europa and Ocean Worlds
The Europa Lander pre-project team organized a community workshop at the AbSciCon conference, in Seattle WA, on June 26, 2019. The workshop on "Instrumentation for the In Situ Exploration of Europa and Ocean Worlds" brought together pre-project science and engineering staff with conference attendees, including teams selected in the ICEE-2 program as well as other interested community members. About 150 people attended the workshop. The material below was presented at that workshop.