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December 30, 2013 – January 12, 2014 / Vol 32, No 52 – Vol 33, No 1 / Hawai`i Island, USA

27 Dec 2013, 22:00 UTC
December 30, 2013 – January 12, 2014 / Vol 32, No 52 – Vol 33, No 1 / Hawai`i Island, USA
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Solar System Human Missions for the 21st Century – Part 2

Jupiter likely will become a strategic center for our evolution in the Solar System. With 67 known moons, 4 about as large as Luna, and over 70% of Solar System mass outside the Sun, Jupiter is a diverse system of worlds unto itself. Europa, especially, is of vital importance to future science and interplanetary development, including our understanding of the prevalence of life in the universe. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye is urgently calling for a robotic Europa mission to study recently discovered plumes spouting what appears to be vaporized ocean water into space. Human Missions to these regions perhaps by 2076 would start by exploring moons like Callisto and Ganymede around Jupiter, and Titan and Enceladus around Saturn. There is also much to learn about Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud in preparation for our eventual interstellar journeys. Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal for the United Kingdom, forecasts that “all of the planets, moons, and asteroids of the Solar System will be explored and mapped” during this century, and “there may be small groups of pioneers living independent from Earth [as a] first step towards divergence ...

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