- The low-cost mission would send two landers to Europa.
- Spacecraft would be designed to complete their studies in a week, though they may be able to work longer.
- Europa has a liquid ocean beneath its icy shell and is a prime candidate for life beyond Earth.
In the search for life beyond Earth, few places beckon as strongly as Europa, an ocean-bearing, ice-covered moon circling Jupiter.
But how to pull off the mission, given today's tight science budgets and competing missions, such as a sample return from Mars?
A team of scientists may have the answer: Send a pair of landers directly to Europa and design the mission to last just seven days.
"When you're trying to design a mission to deal with the radiation environment (around Jupiter) one way to get around it is to have a lot of shielding and the other way is to not live very long," said Kevin Hand, an astrobiologist and planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
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