The Importance of My Job

Congratulations, you have been chosen as the Remote (REM) officer for this important mission. Your job is to determine the best place for the probe to impact the surface of Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon. You will analyze three locations in hopes of determining which location provides the best opportunity to find signs of potential life on Europa. 

You will need to follow every step on this page, without skipping a single step. If you find at any point that the readings from the spacecraft are not safe, you must inform the crew! Do not begin the first step until told to do so by the Mission Commander.

You will be communicating with other teams using the CHAT at the bottom of the screen. Make sure you use the drop down menu to select the correct team you want to send the message to.  Once you have typed it in the CHAT, make sure to hit Enter so that the team receives it.



Follow these directions for researching potential IMPACT SITES


  1. Read the notes from the previous Remote officer by clicking on the box labeled NOTES.

    Several independent lines of evidence have led scientists to conclude that Europa almost certainly has a global ocean of salty liquid water beneath its icy crust. Europa’s rocky interior lies between the moon’s core and the ocean layer. As Europa flexes due to the gravity of Jupiter, ocean water might seep into the uppermost portion of the rocky layer to be heated and interact chemically with the rock, loading the water with minerals and organic (carbon-containing) compounds as it flows back into the bottom of the ocean through cracks or fissures. Such a process could supply the ocean with building blocks for life, and with materials that could serve as food for simple organisms.

    Below the list of steps there is an IMPACT SITE DATA LOG. In this IMPACT SITE DATA LOG, you will be recording information you collect from the Mission Commander in the future.

     2. Answer the IMPACT SITE RESEARCH QUESTIONS below. Click “Submit” when you finish answering the questions.




        Follow these directions for researching and analyzing potential IMPACT SITES

        1. Locate the CHAT in your call software and send the following message to “COM”:

        The REM team has a message for the Mission Commander. Please send the download code for the potential probe impact sites as soon as possible.

        2. Read the information on Europa’s surface features and tectonic activity by clicking on the box labeled SURFACE FEATURES


          The surface of Europa appears to be very fresh and young by geological standards, less than 100 million years old. Because of tidal heating, Europa could have active venting of water vapor. Europa also has a fractured appearance resulting from flexing of the moon’s surface as it circles Jupiter on its oval-shaped orbit. The fractures open, close, and slide past each other with each orbit where the stress from the flexing is the highest. In the past, the surface appears to have pulled open along some cracks and ridges, allowing huge tracts of warmer icy material to well up into the new gap and creating banded patterns. Other features called “chaos” probably formed as slightly warmer blobs of ice and/or water migrated upward within the ice shell, eventually breaking apart the surface. Chaos features typically appear as regions that are reddish non-ice material along cracks and within areas where the surface has been deformed.

          3. Once the Mission Commander has sent you the download code for the potential probe impact sites, open the IMPACT SITE DATA LOG and type in the code. Click “Next”. 

          4. Analyze the images. Complete the questions below the images then click “Submit”.

           **NOTE: You will be receiving recommendations for probe impact sites by the OCEAN and SPACE WEATHER teams. Take these recommendations into account as you make your final decision for the probe impact site.


          OPEN DATA LOG


          Follow these directions for sending the probe launch code to the PROBE team:

          1. When a probe impact site is selected, open the PROBE LAUNCH DATA LOG below.

          2. Locate the CHAT and send the following message to the “PROBE” team: 

          The Probe Launch Code is ________________________.

          3. When the Probe Launch Code has been sent, select “Yes” on the PROBE LAUNCH DATA LOG, then click “Submit.”


          OPEN DATA LOG


          Follow these directions to complete further research on Europa’s surface:

          1. After sending the Probe Launch Code to the PROBE Team, scroll down to the COORDINATES DATA LOG to complete research for future Europa missions. Click “Submit” when you finish the research questions.



          OPEN DATA LOG



          Follow these directions to complete further research on Europa’s surface:

          2. Once this is completed, locate the CHAT and send the following message to “Everyone”:

          The REM team has completed all their tasks.

          3. Wait quietly for any further instructions.