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Joint Europa Mission (JEM) a multi-scale study of Europa to characterize its habitability and search for extant life

Michel Blanc 1 Nicolas André 1 Olga Prieto-Ballesteros 2 Javier Gómez-Elvira 2 Geraint Jones 3 Veerle Sterken 4, 5 William Desprats 6, 1 Leonid Gurvits 7, 8, 9 Krishan Khurana 10 Aljona Blöcker 11 Renaud Broquet 12 Emma Bunce 13 Cyril Cavel 12 Gaël Choblet 14 Geoffrey Colins 15 Marcello Coradini 16 John Cooper 17 Dominic Dirkx 18 Dominique Fontaine 19 Philippe Garnier 1 David Gaudin 6 Paul Hartogh 20 Luciano Iess 21 Adrian Jäggi 22 Sascha Kempf 23 Norbert Krupp 20 Luisa Lara 24 Jérémie Lasue 1 Valéry Lainey 25 François Leblanc 26 Jean-Pierre Lebreton 27 Andrea Longobardo 28 Ralph Lorenz 29 Philippe Martins 30 Zita Martins 31 Adam Masters 32 David Mimoun 6 Ernesto Palumba 28 Pascal Regnier 12 Joachim Saur 33 Adriaan Schutte 34 Edward Sittler 17 Tilman Spohn 35 Katrin Stephan 35 Károly Szegő 36 Federico Tosi 28 Steve Vance 37 Roland Wagner 35 Tim van Hoolst 38 Martin Volwerk 39 Frances Westall 40
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Europa is the closest and probably the most promising target to search for extant life in the Solar System, based on complementary evidence that it may fulfil the key criteria for habitability: the Galileo discovery of a sub-surface ocean; the many indications that the ice shell is active and may be partly permeable to transfer of chemical species, biomolecules and elementary forms of life; the identification of candidate thermal and chemical energy sources necessary to drive a metabolic activity near the ocean floor. In this article we are proposing that ESA collaborates with NASA to design and fly jointly an ambitious and exciting planetary mission, which we call the Joint Europa Mission (JEM), to reach two objectives: perform a full characterization of Europa's habitability with the capabilities of a Europa orbiter, and search for bio-signatures in the environment of Europa (surface, subsurface and exosphere) by the combination of an orbiter and a lander. JEM can build on the advanced understanding of this system which the missions preceding JEM will provide: Juno, JUICE and Europa Clipper, and on the Europa lander concept currently designed by NASA (Maize, report to OPAG, 2019).
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Michel Blanc, Nicolas André, Olga Prieto-Ballesteros, Javier Gómez-Elvira, Geraint Jones, et al.. Joint Europa Mission (JEM) a multi-scale study of Europa to characterize its habitability and search for extant life. Planetary and Space Science, Elsevier, 2020, 193, pp.104960. ⟨10.1016/j.pss.2020.104960⟩. ⟨insu-02883533⟩



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