An astrobiology payload complement for a Europa Penetrator

Gowen, Rob; Kennedy, Tom; Lamoureux, Herve; Griffiths, Andrew; Vijendran, Sanjay; Waugh, Lester; Dartnell, Lewis; Sheridan, Simon and Rodriguez-Manfredi, Jose (2012). An astrobiology payload complement for a Europa Penetrator. In: 9th International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW9), 18-22 Jun 2012, Toulouse, France.



We report on the selection and design of an astrobiology payload for a Europa penetrator, which would impact at ~300m/s, and subsequently access a sub-surface sample, analysis it, and return the science data to an overflying orbiter.

We aim for a very highly integrated package whose payload elements are limited to 2.2 kg before 50% maturity margin for elements with TRL<5, and a further 20% system margins are applied. This mass limit also has to include a sample acquisition mechanism.

Selection of instruments requires that the astrobiology return is maximised with technology which is capable of flight readiness by the end of this decade. In the case of absence of astrobiological signatures the associated geophysical return is also assessed. Major drivers used in instrument selection and design are science capability within a penetrator context, and technology elements which include resources (mass, power, volume), maturity (heritage, TRL), ruggedness, contamination, radiation, planetary protection, mounting orientation, thermal, telemetry and commanding issues

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