Title page for ETD etd-11122014-130031

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Allen, David William
Author's Email Address davidallen@vt.edu
URN etd-11122014-130031
Title Development of a Value System and Mission Architecture for the Exploration of the Oceans of Europa
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Craig Woolsey Committee Chair
Leigh McCue Committee Co-Chair
Michael Philen Committee Member
William Moore Committee Member
  • Europa
  • Planetary Exploration
  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
  • Melt Probes
Date of Defense 2014-10-30
Availability unrestricted
Of all of the bodies in the solar system, Europa is perhaps the most enticing. Based on several lines of evidence, Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is believed to have an ocean of liquid water beneath several kilometers of ice. This ocean is likely in contact with Europa’s rocky core, making Europa’s ocean one of the most likely places for life to exist in the solar system outside of Earth. This thesis provides an outline of the technology required for a mission that travels to Europa, penetrates the ice, and explores the ocean below.

In order to create this outline, this thesis first provides background on previous missions to the outer planets. A discussion of the science requirements is presented and then a value system by which designs are evaluated is developed. Current technologies and the design alternatives are presented and evaluated using the value system. A final mission architecture and concept of operations are then presented.

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