Who says Congress can’t get anything done? They’ve told NASA “you gotta go,” could be as soon as 2022. Jupiter’s gravitational flexing generates a lot of heat inside the moon – enough for a 150 km deep water ocean to exist under the ice crust.
What’s more, rusty colored stains on the ice around the cracks suggest that the water is heavy in salts and minerals. Chemistry plus energy plus time—all of which Europa has in the right mix—may be all that is necessary to cook up life…
[A lander’s] ultimate goal would be to peer directly into the calmer waters of the ocean and perhaps even go swimming.
Congress is a blunt instrument, so I hope their requirements don’t hurt the mission. NASA still has problems to solve. But I can’t wait to find out what’s swimming in Europa’s seas.
Thanks to time.com for the article and quote.