A September 20, 2013 story in The Verge reports on an effort by a Danish space enthusiast named Kristian von Bengston to “crowd research” a study for a one way crewed expedition to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Von Bengston is a founder of a company called Copenhagen Suborbitals, which is working on a rocket to launch a human being into a suborbital space jaunt.
Why Europa? According to the “Objective Europa” website:
“The destination for this crewed mission is Jupiter’s sixth closest moon, Europa. Its deep ocean and active geology provide a solid platform for extraterrestrial life, making Europa one of the most enticing locations to explore in the solar system. The 600 day flight required to reach Europa is manageable with today’s technology, and the many challenges of such a mission pose a perfect starting point for new research and innovative thinking.”
Also Europa is far more interesting than Mars, with its bone dry deserts.
Of course, as anyone who has seen “Europa Report” understands, a voyage to a moon of Jupiter is a daunting undertaking. Between several years of microgravity, the harsh radiation environment of Jupiter space, and the hazards of landing and working on the moon’s icy surface, the prospect of dying is very real. And the fact that the voyage is a one way trip might give potential astronauts some pause.
“Objective Europa” is not raising money yet. It is calling for volunteers to help research the feasibility of such a mission and, in phase two, actually designing the hardware that would prove necessary to carry it out.