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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

If We Landed on Europa, What Would We Want to Know?


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Jupiter as seen from Europa

This artist's concept shows a simulated view from the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Europa's potentially rough, icy surface, tinged with reddish areas that scientists hope to learn more about, can be seen in the foreground. The giant planet Jupiter looms over the horizon.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Most of what scientists know of Jupiter's moon Europa they have gleaned from a dozen or so close flybys from NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1979 and NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the mid-to-late 1990s.

From Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA
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