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Jeff Jackson: Mission to Europa

 

De: Jeff Jackson <jeffjacksonnc@substack.com>
Date: seg., 3 de jun. de 2024 
Subject: Mission to Europa
     
 
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Mission to Europa

Excellence vs. outrage

JUN 3
 
 
 
 
 
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About a month ago, I got an invitation to go onto a cable news show. They wanted me to argue with someone about some small issue that no one was going to remember in a week.

I said no, but then I pitched them a different idea.

ďYou know, Iím on the Space Subcommittee. NASA is doing a mission to Europa later this year and itís going to be amazing. How about I come on and talk about that?Ē

Iíll never forget his response. He laughed a little and said, ďNo, that would make people feel good

Well, I think you deserve to feel good about something. So Iím going to tell you about the mission to Europa - because weíre all paying for it as taxpayers, and because it really is amazing.

So hereís the deal:

Jupiter has nearly 100 moons.

The four largest ones were spotted by Galileo about 400 years ago.

One of those four - Europa - is generally considered to have the best chance for life anywhere in our solar system other than Earth.

Why?

Lots of water.

Europa has a huge ocean and is completely covered in water. Itís got more water than Earth.

But itís very cold, so all that water is covered beneath a layer of ice.

We can tell from the coloration of the ice that a variety of minerals are present. We also believe thereís heat coming off the ocean floor. 

That means Europa has water + minerals + heat. A very tempting place to explore.

So tempting, in fact, that about ten years ago Congress actually passed a law mandating that NASA explore the planet. 

After years of work, NASA is almost done assembling the probe:

   

If all goes well, it will blast off on top of SpaceXís biggest rocket this October.

Then it will travel 1.8 billion miles at a speed of 25,000 mph for about five years to reach Europa.

Once it arrives, it will spend several years doing close passes - but not landing. (Thatís the next mission, and itís also legally required.)

Weíre going to learn a lot about whatís under the ice, but weíre also going to look for some deep cracks in the ice that would serve as good landing spots for the next mission. That way, drilling through the ice - and sending a swimming probe into the ocean depths - will be easier when we return.

BUT thereís another great feature of Europa: We think it ejects some of its water into space in vast, frozen plumes. That means the probe might be able to fly through the plumes, collect the frozen water, and analyze it - giving us a sense of the composition of the water without having to land, drill, and swim.

Obviously I have no idea what weíll find. Nothing is certain.

But I am certain that this kind of project represents some of the best qualities of humanity, and our country. 

Itís extraordinary that weíre capable of this, that weíve built teams of people who are dedicating their lives to it, and that theyíve overcome countless setbacks in pursuit of such a momentous goal. Iím grateful to live in a country thatís capable of tackling this kind of challenge.

I get why that doesnít make for great TV these days. Itís the opposite of outrage - itís excellence, and excellence isnít as addictive as outrage.

But these folks deserve our strongest possible thank you - and here they are, the Europa team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

   

I donít expect any of them to read this, but if they happen to, JOB WELL DONE. Weíre so proud of you.

Now carry on!

Campaign update - everyoneís invited to a Zoom event

Each quarter our campaign holds a Zoom fundraiser to support my campaign for Attorney General. It started last December as an experiment to see if anyone would attend, and hundreds of you did. So a tradition was born.

This one is special because Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell is joining as our guest.

Weíll focus on what to expect as the election gets closer: the polling, our strategy, and the North Carolina political landscape. (And maybe some discussion about whatís going on in Congress, since Iím still there.)

Itíll be a very informal conversation and it would be great to have you join us.

Itís on Tuesday, June 25th at 8pm ET / 5pm PT. You can use this link to get your ticket. Hope to see you then.

Best,

Jeff Jackson

P.S. - One last piece of joy for you.

This week, I finally got around to hanging up the swing in our front yard. Marisa thought Avery would enjoy it, but I thought maybe she was too old for it. 

Looks like Marisa was right:

   
 

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© 2024 Jeff Jackson
Jeff Jackson for Attorney General, P.O. Box 470882
Charlotte, NC 28226, United States
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Jornalismo com ťtica e solidariedade.