SETI Popular Mechanics article on Europa Probes

Larry Klaes (
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 12:27:12 -0400

This online article from the March, 1997 issue of Popular Mechanics, "Water Changes Everything", by Jim Wilson, contains an article on the 1996 Europa Ocean Conference ( The conference discussed the Europa Ice Clipper (see below), which would fire a projectile into the moon's ice and scoop up the expanding debris from the impact as it flew over and return it to Earth for study (much like Stardust's comet mission). They also discussed a probe which would drill through the ice and explore the liquid water ocean beneath. The article comes complete with two artist's renditions on this subject. To quote in part: "A more ambitious plan, suggested by Martin J. Heath of London's Biosphere Project, envisions launching a miniature nuclear-powered submarine. After landing on the surface of Europa, its nuclear reactor would heat the submarine's exterior, enabling it to melt through the ice. Once in Europa's ocean, it would swim as long as its powerplant cranked out the kilowatts. From time to time, it would return to its bore hole to send information that would be relayed to Earth." Here is a Web site on the Europa Ice Clipper from The Astrobiology Web:

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