NASA should consider launching its much anticipated mission to Jupiter's Ocean Moon Europe with a private rocket.
The United States Congress has ruled that the mission Europa Clipper is scheduled for launch in 2023, on which Mega-socket of the NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) will run.
"Due to development delays and in particular NASA's plans to deploy the first three SLS missiles for its Artemis lunar program, an SLS will not be available until 2025 at the earliest." The Inspector General of NASA, Paul Martin, wrote in a letter to selected lawmakers on Tuesday (27 August).
"If the European Spacecraft (known as the" Europa Clipper "), worth about $ 3 billion, is completed on schedule, it will have to last for at least 2 years at a cost of $ 3 to $ 5 million Be stored every month until an SLS becomes available, "Martin added.
See also: Photos: Europe, Jupiter's Mysterious Icy Moon
Abolition of the requirement that NASA introduce the Europa Clipper on a SLS and make the decision on the Agency he concluded in the letter and emphasized that the OIG believes that this problem " Commercial Vehicles Will Be Available to Clipper Martin mentions SpaceX's Falcon Heavy and Delta Launch's United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy, both of which are already flying.
Europa Clipper is said to be the vast ocean of liquid Characterize water spilling under the icy shell of the moon and assess Europe's ability to absorb life Inquire about it our knowledge of how to set up a potential life-hunter landing mission and perform a variety of other tasks. The probe will carry out this work on dozens of flyovers in Europe, which will be conducted after reaching Jupiter's orbit.
The SLS would allow Clipper to get to the gas giant much faster. The big NASA rocket will be strong enough to take the spaceship directly to Jupiter. The journey takes only 2.4 years. The commercial alternatives would require a detour that takes advantage of the "gravity support" of the planet, resulting in a transit time of almost 6 years, Martin wrote.
Nevertheless, NASA should be allowed to consider these alternatives, he emphasized. The first three SLS missiles are already booked for the Artemis program of NASA with which by 2024 two astronauts landed near the Moon South Pole and by 2028 established a sustainable human presence on and around the Earth's nearest neighbor should be.
] Congress also ordered NASA to launch the Europa-Lander aboard an SLS. Unlike Clipper, this mission is currently just a concept. It is not officially in the Act of the Space Agency.
Tuesday's letter was a continuation of a report on the Europa Clipper and Europa Lander missions that OIG published in May. This report found that both projects face a multitude of serious challenges on the way to the Launchpad .
"Our audit found that NASA's aggressive development plan constituted a severe conflict despite sound early-stage funding. The instrument selection process, the inadequate assessment of cost and schedule estimates, and the shortage of technical staff have presented the challenges of instrument integration and integration Development risks for the Clipper mission increased, "said John Schulz, an OIG management analyst, in a May 1
Mike Walls book on the search for a foreign life "" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate ), is now out. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .