This paper investigates the latter point, that is, the capture strategy for an Europa orbiter at the level of preliminary mission analysis.
D'Amario, "Europa orbiter mission trajectory design," in AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Girdwood, Alaska, August 1999.
Sending large, multibillion-dollar flagship missions to each of the moons, such as a proposed craft called the Jupiter Europa Orbiter
, isn't possible under the current funding climate.
JIMO was announced in 2003 as a replacement mission for a smaller-scale ($1 billion) Europa orbiter
that had been abandoned a few months earlier.
A Europa Orbiter
spacecraft might be launched in 2008 and arrive in 2010.
The investigations suggested for the proposed Europa Orbiter
include imaging, altimetry, gravity measurements, and subsurface radar soundings.
NASA's Jupiter Europa Orbiter
also received a nod from the panel, which ranked the mission as the second-highest priority among large projects.
The Pluto-Kuiper Belt flyby and a planned Europa orbiter
both get axed under the new plan.
However, by mid-2000 escalating costs threatened both programs, and last September NASA managers opted to defer the Pluto mission indefinitely so that work could continue on the Europa orbiter
(April issue, page 32).
Confirmation could come with the 2003 launch of Europa Orbiter
, which will use radar to measure the thickness of the moon's icy crust and may determine whether liquid water exists below.