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Interactive video lesson plan for: 'Hey Bill Nye, How Will We Search for Life on Jupiter's Moon, Europa?' #TuesdaysWithBill

Activity overview:

The mission to explore Europa, the moon of Jupiter with twice as much seawater as Earth, has entered 'phase B', meaning the project now has funding from Congress.

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Transcript - Olwlethu: Hi Bill. I'm Olwethu. I'm 16 years old from South Africa. My question is what are the future plans of the Europa trip and what instruments will be utilized to drill beneath the earth's surface?

Bill Nye: So, the big news here in the United States is this mission to Europa, mission is what we call a spacecraft and all the people that work to support it. The mission to Europa is now in phase B. In the words it's after phase A so it's been funded, there's money being spent selecting instruments for a spacecraft to go out to Europa, the moon of Jupiter with twice as much sea water as the earth. And looking for signs of life is a tricky business because a spacecraft would be going very, very fast in order to get out there and get in orbit around Europa without just smashing into it.

So when you said the earth's surface I bet you meant the Europainen surface, the Europian surface. So along this line I'm reluctant to call them our hero but there's a congressman in the U.S. Senate, in the U.S. Congress named John Culberson and he is a huge fan of sending a mission to Europa. He has a daughter who's 19 I believe and he wants it so that she will know whether or not there is life on Europa, just like you. And so he has put in a congressional bill, this is here in the United States, this is the laws and regulations that provide money to NASA the worlds largest space agency, he has put money in there to make a lander for Europa. And in general the lander would be a thing with insect looking legs and then some drill that gets really hot and melts through the ice. And the other plan they talk about the time they want to have a big long tether, a big cable so this thing would melt through 20 km of ice, like 15 miles of ice and look around in the Europainen ocean. It would be an extraordinary thing. Now this is a cool thing and we're very excited about it at the Planetary Society, but the drawback is humans being what they are and Congress being what it is here in the U.S., when something that ambitious or that expensive or that pricey is put in a bill what often happens is the other side, the Senate, the U.S. government has two houses, just like lords and common and the other side will cancel that money set aside, but we'll see. Either way there is a mission going to Europa and there is a proposal to make a very sophisticated complicated lander to look for signs of life below the surface. The extraordinary, and I hope it happens while you're alive. I hope it does. Stay tuned.

Tagged under: Bill Nye,Bill Nye The Science Guy,Europa,Jupiter,moon,Earth,seawater,Congress,instruments,drill,United States,mission,funding,signs life,orbit,Senate,John Culberson,NASA,lander,ice,ocean,Planetary Society,expensive,bill,government,surface,Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Education,Educational,Lifelong Learning,EDU

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