Ocean Worlds Exploration and the Search for Life. (arXiv:2006.15803v1 [astro-ph.IM])

Ocean Worlds Exploration and the Search for Life. (arXiv:2006.15803v1 [astro-ph.IM])
<a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Howell_S/0/1/0/all/0/1">Samuel M. Howell</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Stone_W/0/1/0/all/0/1">William C. Stone</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Craft_K/0/1/0/all/0/1">Kate Craft</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+German_C/0/1/0/all/0/1">Christopher German</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Murray_A/0/1/0/all/0/1">Alison Murray</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Rhoden_A/0/1/0/all/0/1">Alyssa Rhoden</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Arrigo_K/0/1/0/all/0/1">Kevin Arrigo</a>

This is a community draft white paper for submission to the Decadal Survey in
Planetary Science and Astrobiology, reflecting the views of the NASA
Astrobiology Program’s Research Coordination Network for Ocean Worlds (NOW).

We recommend the establishment of a dedicated Ocean Worlds Exploration
Program within NASA, providing sustained funding to support the science,
engineering, research, development, and mission planning needed to implement a
multi-decadal, multi-mission program to explore Ocean Worlds for life and
understand the conditions for habitability. The two new critical flagship
missions within this program would 1) land on Europa or Enceladus in the decade
2023-2032 to investigate geophysical and geochemical environments while
searching for biosignatures, and 2) access a planetary ocean to directly search
for life in the decade 2033-2042. The technological solutions for a landed
mission are already in-hand, evidenced by the successful delta-Mission Concept
Review of the Europa Lander pre-flight project in the fall of 2018. Following
an initial landed mission, an ocean access mission will require substantial
research, development, and analog testing this decade enable the initiation of
a pre-flight project at the start of the following decade.

This is a community draft white paper for submission to the Decadal Survey in
Planetary Science and Astrobiology, reflecting the views of the NASA
Astrobiology Program’s Research Coordination Network for Ocean Worlds (NOW).

We recommend the establishment of a dedicated Ocean Worlds Exploration
Program within NASA, providing sustained funding to support the science,
engineering, research, development, and mission planning needed to implement a
multi-decadal, multi-mission program to explore Ocean Worlds for life and
understand the conditions for habitability. The two new critical flagship
missions within this program would 1) land on Europa or Enceladus in the decade
2023-2032 to investigate geophysical and geochemical environments while
searching for biosignatures, and 2) access a planetary ocean to directly search
for life in the decade 2033-2042. The technological solutions for a landed
mission are already in-hand, evidenced by the successful delta-Mission Concept
Review of the Europa Lander pre-flight project in the fall of 2018. Following
an initial landed mission, an ocean access mission will require substantial
research, development, and analog testing this decade enable the initiation of
a pre-flight project at the start of the following decade.

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