I read an article: Which moon to shoot for? It told of the three moons NASA and ESA are planning to launch an exploratory rocket to. NASA gives us three destinations to choose from. Titan, a moon orbiting Saturn which is the second biggest moon in our galaxy and has the most earth-like atmosphere which contains mostly nitrogen. Europa, a moon orbiting Jupiter but is a bit smaller than Titan but yet still the sixth largest moon in the Milky Way, it has a shell of ice that contains a warm, salty ocean. Ganymede, also a moon orbiting Jupiter but it is bigger than both Titan and Europa therefore making it the largest moon in our Milky Way galaxy, scientists want to go here because it has a very interesting magnetic field on it.
The next part of the article talks about how they are going to keep the spacecraft safe and protected against the radiation. They want to send a balloon the Titan and have it float in the gentle breeze but must find a way to protect the balloons fragile fabric. 20-30 percent of the cost for the mission will go into the radiation field alone.
This expedition to one of the three won’t be able to launch till 2020, and it will take at least 8 years to get to any of them so we won’t see any data till 2028 or 2030 if they take the balloon to Titan.
Hand, Eric. “Which Moon To Shoot For?.” Nature 457.7228 (2009): 366-367.
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