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Dr. Robert Pappalardo, Monday, 7-27-15 July 28, 2015

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Dr. Robert Pappalardo, Monday, 7-27-15


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Guest: Dr. Robert Pappalardo. Topics: The Europa Mission Development Plan plus information on this moon. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Dr. Robert Pappalardo to the show to discuss Europa and the upcoming Europa Mission by JPL which is now in the development phase. During the first segment of our 1 hour 27 minute program, Dr. Pappalardo talked about the origins of the NASA JPL Europa mission now in the development phase. He briefly described the experiments & instruments planned for the mission, then answered questions about the mission such as will the mission search for life. In response to this question, he said it would search for simple life through an indirect means which he described more fully in the second segment of the show. Our guest talked about having learned lots from the earlier Galileo spacecraft, especially about the Europa magnetic field and the likelihood of the oceans consisting of saltwater. Dr. Pappalardo also talked about the structure of Europa with the icy surface, oceans under the ice ad then a rocky base under the oceans. Dr. Pappalardo brought up the tidal heating of Europa and spoke to that quite a bit during the show. He talked about chemical energy and nutrients which may support simple life in the Europa oceans. Listener Joe asked how Europa could be in a habitable zone, even for simple life, given its cold temperatures. Our guest said Europa was expanding the definition of habitable zone & that the tidal heating was crucial to the possibility of finding simple life molecules. Don’t miss his complete response to this question. We talked mission timeline which was from about 2022 to the mid-2020s. We also learned that the Europa launch window was every 13 months. Our guest was asked about transit time to Europa. He said it depended on the rocket. With SLS it would be less than 3 years. Another rocket would take at least 3.5 years or longer. We also discussed bandwidth issues for getting data, images, and video back to Earth. I asked about the possibility of using cubesats as part of the Europa mission, then Bob talked about the radiation challenge which he said was significant because Jupiter acts as a giant particle accelerator. Don’t miss this discussion, especially the part abbot how much ice would be needed for effective shielding. Also, the Europa satellite will come as close as 25KM to the surface of Europa.

In the second segment, Bob went into detail about the scientific instruments that will comprise the Europa mission. He took us through each one in detail so don’t miss it. The radar pushes the technology envelope. So does the mass spectrometer. Harry wanted to know if a plutonium RTG would be used for power and if they were anticipating Cassini like protests. Bob said that they would be using solar power. Again, don’t miss the discussion. Cindy asked Bob about the length of the Europa day and year, another listener asked about Europa volcanoes and we learned that Europa has icy volcanoes. Amber wanted to know if the ice on Europa was the same as ice here on Earth. A UK listener wanted to know why Europa was not sucked into Jupiter by the planet’s huge gravity field. Don’t miss Bob’s explanation of this. Toward the end of the segment, he talked about the significance and importance of the search for simple life molecules/organics. Final questions concerned specific Europa classes at the college level & more on the European JUICE Mission and its plans for Europa. We agreed to stay in touch with one another regarding Europa and the upcoming mission so Dr. Pappalardo will be returning to The Space Show.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Pappalardo through me or JPL.