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Cool Space shit

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www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012...

Interesting to think that in the future when space flight has become the norm that history will look back on this little capsule as the moment space opened up to the rest of the world instead of a select few governments

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crazed scientist dons sexist shirt of pvc clad women to celebrate successful probing of virgin ice-ball in space

www.independent.co.uk/...

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Did anyone hear the noise the comet is making. Defo a UFO

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Fireball meteor explodes over Sverdlovsk region, Russia

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UK To Land On Moon In 10 Years

www.bbc.co.uk/news/sci...

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THE SOUND OF TOUCHDOWN

Sensors in the feet of Rosetta’s lander Philae have recorded the sound of touchdown as it first came into contact with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

blogs.esa.int/rosetta/...

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and SETI Institute have just released a remastered image of Jupiter’s moon Europa

otojournal.jpl.nasa.go...

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Good information video on Europa by NASA JPL...

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"A future NASA mission to Europa became more likely today with the news that Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) will assume leadership of the House's Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittee. This committee writes the House's version of the yearly funding bills that include NASA and the NSF, and is extremely influential, particularly for smaller federal agencies like NASA."

www.planetary.org/blog...

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stunning at the 5min mark, really need to get on this for a jeff jooks

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whats the latest update on this comet lander thing then? any green men yet? waste of time?

anybody?

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Rosetta is still doing it's thing - www.esa.int/Our_Activi...

Due to Philae bouncing when it landed and endeing up somewhere were it couldn't get power from the sun, it could only run on it's batteries, which have now ran out. But it did get some scientific studies done apparently, though how much is still unreported. They're working through the data now.

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so it failed then.

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No, it didn't.

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it did. it bounced and landed out of the sun, that goes down as a fail im afraid.

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lol, although you are messing, tbf it definitely didn't fail. It will be interesting to see what details they have got though.

“Despite the unplanned series of three touchdowns, all of our instruments could be operated and now it’s time to see what we’ve got.”

“We still hope that at a later stage of the mission, perhaps when we are nearer to the Sun, that we might have enough solar illumination to wake up the lander and re-establish communication, ” added Stephan.

www.esa.int/Our_Activi...

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how will this all affect I'm a celebrity, get me out of here? think that is all anyone is actually concerned with?

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Such a fecking shame the thing didn't go 100% according to plan, bet the group tasked with the fixing harpoons are shunned de fuck in the canteen

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lol

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Wonder if they're even still around, hasn't it been like ten years since the thing launched?

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Some cool scale images - www.buzzfeed.com/daves...

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First true colour image of comet 67P emerges i.imgur.com/xO7GlOj.png

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before and after false colouring of helix nebula
www.newscientist.com/a...

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excellent to scale chart of human space ve-hicles media.gizmodo.co.uk/wp... look at the fecking size of the saturn 5!? that was truly one gargantuan rocket, the stats are crazy aparanjape.wordpress.c...

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Hayabusa 2 is launching today!

"The Hayabusa 2 mission will send a spacecraft, three rovers and a small lander to the asteroid 1999 JU3, a space rock that is thought to contain water and organic material. It should take Hayabusa 2 about four years to reach the asteroid, then two more years to return samples of the space rock to Earth in late 2020, according to a JAXA mission description."

www.space.com/27885-ja...

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RJ, it's worth having a look at some of Space X rockets for size also...

blog.jedchristiansen.c...

The Saturn 5 is still the daddy even now though. It was an insane beast.

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Check this out -

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Nasa gives go ahead to Orion space capsule launch in test that could lead to manned Mars mission www.independent.co.uk/...

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wish they'd can the manned mars missions, its a dead lifeless rock and the money and time required to get there isn't imo worth it, id rather they'd go land remotes on Titan & Europa

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They'll probably do that anyway, RJ. There's talk of something going on at NASA along those lines due to the amount of 'marketing media' they're putting out, like that video I linked the other day.

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It would be interesting to see if the could find any definitive evidence of life having existed there in the past. If they did it would make a good case for life being fairly common throughout the universe.

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they have the mars lander to look for past evidence of life, i dont see why they need to send a manned mission, dont get me wrong a manned mission to mars is scifi stuff and the shit we'd learn would be incredible i just think we should be using the money to hunt for actual life not evidence of past life and our best hopes for that are unmanned missions to those moons

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RJ, can you not imagine the world uniting interest and feeling of accomplishment that humanity could achieve by a manned mission to Mars? Think about what the mission to the moon was like. Man going to Mars would be huge, and the interest and push for further missions to explore further afield would be next level.

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And the surface of Mars lost it's water potentially billions of years ago, but sub surface could be different. Also, it lost it's magnetic field, so the surface has been battered by radiation, but again, sub surface maybe was more protected.

There's only so much the robotic landers can do as well. I few people on the surface could probably test and do studies within the first day that would surpass anything all the landers have done over the years they've been on the surface.

Space exploration is class at the minute. I cant wait for the JWST. Shitting myself though.

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I know a manned mission to Mars would be huge, that’s why I said it’s the stuff of scifi and we would learn a huge amount but I just don’t think it’s worth it tbh

• Firstly we have a very successful automated laboratory doing its thing plus we have had countless others before it and fuck knows how many satellites have been in orbit around it collecting data so we already know a great deal about the planet.
• It’s a massive undertaking unlike anything us humans have attempted before and one that comes with crazy mad risks, risks that could fuck up space exploration/funding for years to come if anything happens.. can you imagine how those crazy Christian republican fucks would react to a bunch of good time American astronauts dying on a mission to mars? Funding would be cut and the heavens declared fit only for god
• As I said we know a shit load about the planet, it’s a dead planet so all we’ll be doing it for is to simply go “yeaaaah we made it to mars mum!” and some science shit and a precursor to colonisation etc etc
• Titan & Europa haven’t been explored or studied in any great depth and I think the money should be poured into those missions, cause nothing would set this world on fire like actual evidence of life over evidence of past life
• Obviously the fuckers at Nasa know more about this than little ole me but still… I wanna see some photos, actual photos and not orbital satellite photos of some proper Alien worlds, Mars looks like something I took a long drive through this one time in New Mexico ffs plus who the fuck knows what’s on those moons, there’s simply no way that liquid oceans of that size don’t contain something

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Space exploration whilst going through a great time at the moment with current, past and future missions needs something to really capture the imagination of the public and not just us geeks that are into this shit plus I want religion to get a big fucking kick in the arse and for it to be resigned to the dark ages (I know impossible but still) and I honestly think nothing would put a fire under humanity more than finding actual life on another planet, it would be huge but it needs to be actual life not evidence of past microbial life as we’ll probably find on mars if we dig deep enough and a photo of some weird blots in some rock would make the front page and then die quite quickly whereas a snapshot of something swimming in the deep oceans of Europa would fire everyone up to find out exactly what else is out there

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Do you really think that if they found evidence of past life on Mars it would make the front page and then die quite quickly? I think that would be enough to question religion, and also advance the need for missions further afield to try and find current life.

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Finding evidence of past life on mars would be monumentally huge but let's face it we ain't exactly gonna be finding any fossilised dinosaur type remains due to time scales involved of when we think life may of existed no more than likely it'll be microbial in nature and it certainly wouldn't be enough for people to question beliefs in comparison to an actual live alien creature... but who are we kidding the religious fucks would find some obscure passage in the bible and say see I told ya god put it there for us to find...

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once you get people to mars the second and third time wll get easier. Like you say... once you capture the public imagination, you cab bring on board a load of private investment and set up a forward base on the moon ...

then it is a game changer for the human species.

finding life on other planets will just be accommodated by the more progressive branches of religion but do you really think it will change the minds of people who believe the world to be 5000 years old?

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Pape Will Eat Itself

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Fra is probably down with life on other planets, tbf

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"When NASA is ready to send humans to Mars, it will do so using the Orion spacecraft, launched via a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. An unmanned test flight is scheduled for Thursday, December 4 at 7:05 am EST from Kennedy Space Center in Florida."

"The Orion spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, will complete a 4.5 hour-long test flight at an altitude of 5,800 kilometers (3,600 miles), which is approximately 15 times the distance to the International Space Station. The heat shield will be tested, and the cabin will be filled with a suite of sensors to measure conditions inside the spacecraft. Orion will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 32,190 km/h (20,000 mph), before deploying 11 parachutes and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. This is faster than any spacecraft has re-entered since the Apollo missions."

Read more - www.iflscience.com/spa...

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thats the thing i can see why they're going to mars, great way to iron out the kinks of long space travel and setting up a base on a distant planet but i dont think you'll capture the publics imagination more than actually finding life on one of the planets in our solar system, if we find life that would kick start a whole revolution in space travel, mars just doesn't really fire my imagination in comparison to say sending a mission to Europa

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Rj's a snickers guy. Me too.

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more of a topic guy but its similar enough

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From New Scientist........

Join our shoestring mission to find life on Europa

New Scientist has a plan to beat ESA to Jupiter's moon with our own low-budget CubeSat space probe. We'll be looking for alien life – who's in?

WE'RE normally a patient lot at New Scientist. We know science takes time. Even so, we've been reporting on the possibility of life on Europa, Jupiter's ice-encrusted moon, since the mid-1990s. Now, two decades on, we're facing another 15 years or more until NASA or the European Space Agency visit it with a spacecraft capable of telling us more.

Frankly, we just can't wait that long to see what's out there. So we thought, why wait at all? It's the 21st century. Who leaves it to governments or international space agencies to fulfil their dreams? This is the age of do-it-yourself, crowdsourced everything. Hence the New Scientist mission to Europa. You're welcome.

To the untrained eye, Europa looks like a wildly expensive destination. ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission, or JUICE, will make two dedicated fly-bys at an estimated cost of €1 billion. True, that includes a look at Jupiter, Callisto and Ganymede, but still. The price tag on NASA's proposed Europa Clipper mission is just as high.

Given these eye-watering estimates, you might be doubting whether anyone can crowdfund a space mission. Hey, it's already been done. It's exactly how more than 2000 space enthusiasts raised upwards of $160,000 to reboot an old NASA solar explorer mission called ISEE-3. It was enough for NASA to hand control of the craft to the rebooters. And not reluctantly, either: in September, NASA issued a report called "Emerging Space" that acknowledged the power of crowdfunding for space missions and called it "a way to have citizens participate with NASA in a way never before possible". Thanks to platforms like Kickstarter and Rockethub, there is "an opportunity for Americans from all walks of life to be an integral part of NASA's team".

But maybe you're not American. Maybe you don't want to be on NASA's team. Maybe you want to be on Team New Scientist. You will when we tell you our craft's name. Let's hear it for TEENSY: the Tiny Europa Explorer by New Scientist and You.

You want some background before signing up? Well, there are good reasons to go to Europa. For a start there's liquid water, lots of it. Starting with a few hints in early magnetic field measurements and progressing to certainty thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we now know it is there beneath the moon's icy crust. No one is sure how deep the ice goes; it could be just a few kilometres thick, or anywhere up to 30 kilometres. But beneath it sits a huge ocean. Not only is it roughly twice the volume of Earth's oceans, there's evidence that these seas could contain the ingredients for life.

That comes from the curious criss-cross of scars on the moon's surface that are believed to be a result of Jupiter's gravity stretching and squeezing it. That creates heat, causing ice to melt and refreeze, and also generates convection currents in the water. This circulation would drag minerals up from the moon's silicate mantle, producing a mix of chemicals that could nurture life. The moon even has a thin, oxygen-rich atmosphere that could help sustain living creatures and make Europan life not dissimilar to that of primordial Earth. "It is a very good candidate when thinking of habitability or the existence of 'life' beyond the Earth," says Emma Bunce of the University of Leicester and a member of the JUICE science team.

And, amazingly, we might not even have to go under the ice crust to find it. At the end of last year, Hubble recorded images of vast water plumes shooting into space. The plumes were 200 kilometres high and our best estimates suggest that they fire out 3000 kilograms of water every second. That means if there is life in the Europan oceans, it could be detected by intercepting the plumes in a passing spacecraft. Our passing spacecraft. Surely you want to be involved with the first craft to fly through a water jet teeming with alien life?

Small is big

You're probably wondering whether TEENSY could possibly do such amazing things, given – as the name suggests – its diminutive size. Not a problem: in space travel, small is the new big.

We're talking CubeSats, standardised 10-centimetre cubic modules for building spacecraft. Their creators at California State University Polytechnic have been astonished at their popularity. CubeSats have been used to sample Earth's atmosphere, monitor shipping and help detect earthquakes; more than 100 little boxes have been launched so far, and scores of missions are under construction. There are even stores, like the one run by Clyde Space, a CubeSat designer and manufacturer in Glasgow, UK, that allow you to pick and mix your components. "The technology is very well suited to a range of applications," says Chris Brunskill of the Satellite Applications Catapult, a UK company that helps businesses take advantage of the country's growing space industry.

Their appeal lies in the standardisation: you stuff the cubes with cheap, off-the-shelf components that will perform a unique task. But externally they are all identical, which makes launch easy and reliable – even if you choose to connect two or three together, as is now becoming common. "You can go to a launch provider with a CubeSat and they know there'll be no issues, which is very different from a bespoke satellite," Brunskill says.

Traditional launch is on a rocket equipped with a Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer, or P-POD. Once in low Earth orbit, it throws a bunch of CubeSats out into space to do their work. There's a new alternative, though – you can put your CubeSat on a Soyuz or SpaceX craft bound for the International Space Station. There, an astronaut will kick it out into space for you.

It's surprisingly cheap. We've been told it will cost about €130,000 to have an ISS astronaut throw a couple of kilograms out of the airlock. New Scientist has over four million readers worldwide; divided between us that's pennies.

Of course there's the 500 million kilometre plus journey to Jupiter. This is a new frontier for CubeSats: the standard procedure is for the module to sit in low Earth orbit for just a few days before it is allowed to fall back to Earth.

But moving away from Earth shouldn't be a problem. As for a propulsion system, "If you have a can of deodorant – some kind of pressurised canister – that's essentially it," says Adam Masters of Imperial College London, who's also on the JUICE team.

Mission control

We can probably do a bit better than a spray can. Take Benjamin Longmier's CubeSat xenon engine, for example. Longmier, who works at the University of Michigan, starts his engine by ionising xenon gas to form a plasma. Once that plasma has formed, an electric field accelerates it towards the back of the CubeSat, pushing the craft forward.

Longmier's thrusters give about 10 watts of power. It's not a lot – about two cellphones' worth, as he puts it – but it would be enough to get to Europa eventually. About a year after a launch into a low Earth orbit, it would be capable of around 17 kilometres a second. "That means it could go just about anywhere in the solar system," Longmier says.

An alternative would be Martin Tajmar's field emission electric propulsion engine. It uses liquid metal as a propellant and is just 1 centimetre in diameter. "You apply a voltage and it generates an ion beam," says Tajmar, who works at the Technical University in Dresden, Germany. "It's small but highly capable: you can generate thrusts from a few microNewtons to tens of microNewtons. For a small satellite this is a lot."

One advantage is its efficiency – more than 90 per cent of the propellant generates thrust. "That's an order of magnitude above pulse plasma thrusters," Tajmar says.

So better than a spray can, then. But is it better than the hot new technology of solar sailing? This uses nothing more than the gentle pressure exerted by sunlight to cruise through space. With a solar sail, there's no propellant to carry and no worries about it running out.

The power does diminish as you get further from the sun, but if TEENSY has already accelerated to the speed it needs, there's nothing to stop it sailing on to Europa, in theory. The Japanese IKAROS probe has already shown that solar sailing to another planet is possible. Although not a CubeSat, it glided past Venus in December 2010 and is still on its way through the solar system.

A CubeSat could set sail, too. If the Planetary Society can successfully crowdfund its module, it is scheduled to launch in May 2016 and it will have four ultra-thin mylar sheets that unfurl beyond low Earth orbit. "Sending a CubeSat to Jupiter is not unrealistic," says Apostolos Christou of Armagh Observatory in the UK, "but you do have to be innovative." He estimates that TEENSY could reach Jupiter in 5 to 10 years.

So we have power to boldly go, but nobody has operated a CubeSat in deep space. Can it be done? The people behind NASA's INSPIRE mission think so. It has no launch date as yet, but INSPIRE aims to demonstrate that a CubeSat can communicate, navigate and perform useful functions beyond low Earth orbit. "We have a mission objective of reaching at least 1.5 million kilometres," says mission leader Andrew Klesh. "Our minimal objective is 400,000 kilometres, that's lunar distance from Earth."

So far, so good. Assuming TEENSY can get from the drawing board all the way to Europa, what equipment should she be carrying?

The big space agencies have already outlined what they'd like to do. Their list includes examining what Jupiter's radiation does to the Europan environment; measuring the thickness of the ice crust and examining its surface features; identifying a suitable landing site for a future mission and, of course, sampling the ocean.

The kind of tools needed for these tasks are quite daunting – and heavy. So far, 11 have been selected by the big missions. Among them are: an ice-penetrating radar, an infrared spectrometer, a topographic imager, a mass spectrometer, a magnetometer, an antenna for radio gravity tracking, a high resolution camera and a thermal imager.

It's hard to imagine packing all that into a CubeSat. So we are going to have to make some difficult decisions.

The ideal ice-penetrating radar, one that can see at depths of 30 kilometres, has a mass of 42 kilograms. A bit big, then. Even if we downsize to one that penetrates 3 kilometres, according to Van Kane, who blogs for the Planetary Society, it would still be 12 kilograms. So maybe we could leave measuring the thickness of Europa's ice crust to the latecomers.

Likewise with an infrared spectrometer for examining the composition of the icy surface, which weighs in at 19 kilograms. But a mass spectrometer, to analyse molecules captured from a plume of water and gas, could require as little as 7 kilograms of the allowance. That seems OK. We could couple that with a 4-kilogram camera – sorry, topographic imager – that will give us close-up pictures of the surface and maybe show where a future mission could land.

So, with 11 kilograms of instruments we could hope to encounter a plume for analysis, and photograph the moon's surface. And that's just with the kit around at the moment. "There's a lot of drive to make instruments smaller, motivated by the potential of the CubeSat platform," says Masters.

Flagship missions like Europa Clipper and JUICE have to use tried and trusted, entirely reliable technology. But we could gamble, and take something like MAGIC, the tiny magnetoresistive magnetometer developed by researchers at Imperial College London to measure the magnetic field in low Earth orbit. It's not quite up to the sensitivity we'd want for Europa, but it has already seen service aboard CubeSats and there's still time to develop it further before launch.

We're confident we can get some useful instruments on board, then. There is just one problem remaining. How are we going to find out what TEENSY has discovered?

"Communication from there back to Earth? With an antenna the size of a pencil?" Tajmar actually laughs out loud at the idea. "Not a chance!" he says. This could be a fatal flaw. Klesh has thought this issue through for the INSPIRE project, and doesn't exactly inspire confidence. "Our communications link holds strong well past 1.5 million kilometres, but we will reduce our data rate accordingly as we get further and further away," he says. After that, they will only send what is absolutely critical. "At some point, we will drift further away from Earth than we might be able to communicate, but this will be well beyond our mission objectives." Those objectives, remember, top out at 1.5 million kilometres. Europa is nearly 400 times that distance from Earth.

Strength in numbers

We could rely on the rapid rate of progress in CubeSat and space technology to come to our rescue, but really, we can't stake everything on that. We have to find a realistic solution – and there is one. It's not ideal, but it looks like the only option at the moment. We have to wait for NASA to arrive at Europa, with CubeSats.

In October, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California announced it was considering taking an extra load aboard the Europa Clipper: a bunch of CubeSats that would swarm around the moon making measurements from multiple views. Although there's no guarantee any CubeSats will make it onto the Europa Clipper, they are worth investigating, says project manager Barry Goldstein. "They've been showing significant promise in their ability to adapt for deep space missions," he says. "That doesn't mean we've proven it, but it's certainly a good thing to have in your hip pocket."

If they make it on board, those sats will have to upload their data to the Clipper, which would have a powerful enough antenna to beam it all back to Earth. And if NASA's CubeSats can talk to the Clipper, so can ours.

As soon as the mothership arrives, TEENSY can wake from an energy-conserving hibernation and relay our hard-won data back to Earth. That can happen before the Clipper mission has gathered a scrap of its own data. So, although we would be later than we'd like in delivering the news of life on Europa, our TEENSY would still be the first to detect it. That's good enough, isn't it? Who's in?

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Sorry for the copy and paste, but you cant see the whole article unless you log in.

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the reasons listed above are exactly why i think going to mars is stupid, the sheer amount of money involved could easily land a few probes on those moons

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