The Europa Lander, a small science laboratory with the capability to compile data and send it back to Earth, will enable exploration of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This conceptual mission, led by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the California Institute of Technology’s (Caltech’s) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), plans to locate the lander on the icy surface of Europa in search of signs of life.
The harsh environments of space have fundamental impacts on the safety, performance, and stability of mechanical, electrical, and other subsystems used in support of this mission. Sandia and JPL are engaged in multiple Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) in order to enhance the future Europa Lander space missions.
In particular, the partnership is investigating to what extent radiation exposure affects the reliability of the lander’s primary battery supply. The partnership is also exploring methods to protect Europa from Earth-borne contamination per Planetary Protection Regulations.