Europe off to Space despite Earthly Woes

By Blau, John | Research-Technology Management, September/October 2012 | Go to article overview

Europe off to Space despite Earthly Woes


Blau, John, Research-Technology Management


Europe Offto Space Despite Earthly Woes

Even as the U.S. space program finds its horizons narrowed by budget cuts, the European Space Agency (ESA) appears determined to defy economic gravity, launching an ambitious space exploration program amid a deepening sovereign debt crisis. While an under performing economy has damped U.S. space aspirations, most members of the ESA remain committed to forging ahead with plans to explore the universe, including projects on the Columbus space laboratory and missions to explore dark matter.

Launched in 2008, the Columbus laboratory has served as a platform for research into material science, physics, human physiology, and biology, in addition to Earth observation, according to Thomas Reiter, the ESA's director of human spaceflight and operations, who views space exploration as an innovation driver. Now, he said, Europe needs to "maximize the use of knowledge gained through aerospace research by developing new technologies for the benefit of people here on Earth." And with its new space missions, he added, the bloc will create incentives for its scientists and engineers to acquire still greater expertise in space science and technology that will benefit later generations.

Among Europe ' s most ambitious new space exploration plans is its planned mission to explore Jupiter and its icy moons in search of liquid water that could shelter life. In May, the ESA approved the billion-euro JUICE (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer) space probe. It is the agency's next "large class" mission planned under its Cosmic Vision program, which runs from 2015 to 2025. The 5-ton satellite will be one of the largest ever to explore outer planets. It will also be the first solar-powered spacecraftto journey to Jupiter; JUICE will use massive solar panels to capture enough energy to keep its instruments running.

Slated to launch in 2022, the spacecraftwill require eight years to reach the Jovian system. Once there, it will spend at least three years probing Jupiter and then use the planet's gravity to initiate a series of close fly-bys around Callisto and Europa before finally putting itself into a settled orbit around Ganymede. All three moons are suspected of having oceans of water below their icy surfaces. But Ganymede, the solar system's biggest moon, is believed to be the only one in the system with its own magnetic field, which could offer protection against Jupiter's powerful radiation belts, making it more likely that life might survive there.

The data that JUICE will send back about the varied environments of Jupiter and its icy moons will benefit many areas of science, according to Frederic Pont, a physics professor at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. He views the JUICE mission as "highly significant for astrophysics and planetary science," to cite just two fields likely to be affected by the mission. He considers the subsurface oceans of Ganymede and Europa to be "the most exciting frontier" in the solar system "now that Mars has turned out to be almost entirely barren."

The JUICE satellite was originally intended to fly in tandem with a NASA orbiter designed to explore Europa. The U.S. space administration, however, had to back out of the proposed double mission due to budget cuts, meaning the agency would not have enough money for a Europa orbiter until 2020 at the earliest. It has since agreed to make a $100 million contribution to the ESA's Jovian program.

The Cosmic Vision plan also includes two "medium class" missions: Euclid, which is intended to explore the hidden side of the universe-dark energy and dark matter-by putting a telescope in space, and the Solar Orbiter. In June, the Euclid mission reached another milestone: the agency's science program committee gave final approval to move into full preparations for a planned 2020 launch. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Europe off to Space despite Earthly Woes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.