ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne

Geraint Jones, a planetary scientist at the University College London, has described an ESA project - Akon - to build a projectile that could penetrate a few meters below the surface of the icy Jovian moon Europa, to learn about its geophysics and search for life.


(Exterior of Akon projectile)

Akon is a 40-centimeter-long, bullet-shaped probe. After separating from NASA's orbiter, Akon would be carried closer to Europa by a little spacecraft with thrusters. This will help aim the probe, which needs to strike Europa's surface at a 90-degree angle. This ferrying system could include an imager and a mass spectrometer to analyze Europa's thin exosphere.

The probe itself, ejected from the space ferry at a height of 35 kilometers (or about 22 miles), could include a variety of instruments, including an imager, equipment to test for conditions that might be conducive to life, and a seismometer to look for moonquakes and to probe the depth of Europa's icy crust.

To test Akon, scientists shot the probe at a 16-foot ice cube Akon has two parts: the tip contains the vital science instruments, which will have to act fast to gather all the information they need before Europa's extreme cold kills them. The rear part of the bullet is heated so that the communications equipment there can stay alive for a week or more--long enough to relay the data to an orbiter.


(Interior diagram of Akon projectile)

Speaking of firing projectiles at moons, Jules Verne was at his best in his 1867 classic From the Earth to the Moon, describing the effort to send a spacecraft to the Moon. He imagined a gigantic cannon - the Columbiad that would fire a projectile large enough for passengers!


(19th century drawing of the projectile)

The projectile had now to be filled to the depth of three feet with a bed of water, intended to support a water-tight wooden disc, which worked easily within the walls of the projectile... The upper parts of the walls were lined with a thick padding of leather, fastened upon springs of the best steel, behind which the escape tubes were completely concealed; thus all imaginable precautions had been taken for averting the first shock...
(Read more about the projectile vehicle)

Via PopSci.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.' - E. C. Tubb, 1958.

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.' - Nelson S. Bond, 1941.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..' - Robert Forward, 1992.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.