Science fiction is a genre where art imitates and expounds upon life on a regular basis, and we’re now at a time when life constantly attempts to create the things initially imagined by filmmakers and novelists. The mission behind the the crowdsourced think tank Objective Europa is simple: to answer whether or not a manned mission to Jupiter’s moon of Europa is possible. That question was already dealt with earlier this year by Sebastián Cordero’s Europa Report, and according to that, we probably don’t want or need to find out what Europa is made of. But that was just a movie.
Objective Europa is the group effort of scientists, architects, designers, and former NASA specialists who want to amass as large a research base as possible before making any attempts to move on with any actual manned missions. Think of it like a Kickstarter for ideas rather than dollar bills.
The first phase of the project is information gathering, and they encourage “scientists, academia, universities, private parties, individuals, architects, designers, conceptual artists, space-enthusiasts, psychologists, sociologists, electrical engineers, software programmers, artists, writers, authors, philosophers, geologists, polar-scientists, divers, submariners, mountaineers, propulsion engineers and everyone else” to join their endeavor. That’s quite the Craigslist ad. That wide a net will hopefully allow the completion of their massive list of research topics, covering everything from launch vehicle research to risk assessment to crop growing to creating the robotics needed for on-moon research, and everything in between. They’re accepting all idea and sketches, which will be reviewed before making it onto the site. If you’re capable of drawing amazing and efficient spaceships or have a knack for measuring the impact of space radiation, now is your time to shine.
Should this first phase prove to be a success, there are another four phases planned. The second includes mission planning and technology prototyping, with actual mission prep work and selecting a crew of people who may be capable of making this one-way journey. And then, of course, the last phases include the launch and the mission itself, including a proposed 600-day trip.
One has to wonder if they’ll go about getting a crew as the Mars One mission will, via reality show. Considering they’re not looking for funding at this point in the process, one has to wonder where the money will come from when they get to that stage. Europa doesn’t yet capture the general population’s imagination quite like the moon or Mars, so it’s unclear at this early juncture what popular opinion will be like for this. The moon’s icy and oceanic geology are a good indicator of extraterrestrial life. Or the previous existence of said life, if nothing else. Or nothing. But there’s nobody else out there willing to do it, and there’s nothing wrong with some very early planning from a large group of international experts.
What do you guys think of this? There don’t seem to be any downsides, do there? Check out their promo video below.