At the 2022 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December, planetary scientists gathered to discuss their visions for the future of solar system exploration — visions that include drilling into the surface of the moon, peering into the atmosphere of Mars, sniffing out what's in water spurting out of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, and more. One of those projects is the Ice Shell Impact Penetrator (IceShIP), a probe that would hit the icy ocean surface of Jupiter's moon Europa "faster than a bullet" according to Chinmayee Govinda Raj, a doctoral candidate in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The impact would melt some of the ice, and the probe would also carry heaters to help melting along. Then, the spacecraft would sip up that extraterrestrial liquid, sending it to internal instruments that could analyze it for signs of life. Raj and a team of scientists conducted a 2022 study of IceShIP's post-impact components.
Wild mission concepts would melt into icy moons, surf on sunlight to the ice giants, and more