PROBE

The Importance of My Job

Congratulations, you have been chosen as the Probe officer for this important mission. Your job is to prepare, test and launch the probe impactor that will burrow into the surface of Europa. This probe is the most mission critical component for the success of the mission, as without it we cannot learn what is under Europa’s ice sheets!

Your objectives for this mission are:

  • Decide if the probe is safe for launch, and
  • Determine future impact sites for the probe 

You will need to follow every step on this page, without skipping a single step. If you find at any point that the readings from the spacecraft are not safe, you must inform the crew! 

You will be communicating with other teams using the CHAT and your MICROPHONE.

When using CHAT you will see your messages and directions in Purple. Make sure you use the drop down menu to select the correct team you want to send the message to.  Once you have typed it in the CHAT, make sure to hit Enter so that the team receives it.

When using the MICROPHONE your directions and reading will be in Green .  Unmute your MICROPHONE, read your message and make sure you mute after.

SYSTEMS CHECK

Follow these directions for performing a SYSTEMS CHECK:

 

  1. Read the notes from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by clicking on the box labeled NOTES.
    NOTES

    The Europa Probe was pre-built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory three months before the astronaut crew left Earth to travel to Jupiter. It has been safely stored for the past six years in the spacecraft for its eventual launch towards Europa.

    Before the probe is launched, you must perform a SYSTEMS CHECK to ensure no damage has occurred to the Probe during transit. Below this box, there will be a box labeled SYSTEM STATUS, which will display the status of the Probe and all the parts it has installed.

    Below SYSTEMS STATUS there is a SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG. In this SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG, you will be checking if the parts are READY or NOT WORKING. If they are NOT WORKING, they will need a replacement part!

    2. Locate the CHAT and send the following message to the REM team:

    The Probe team has a message for the REM team. We will begin the systems check of the Probe. REM team, send us the Probe Launch Code.

    3. Once recieved, enter the Probe Launch Code in the SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG below.

    4. Click on SYSTEM STATUS to view the current status of the Probe and all its attached parts.

    5. Next to each part, it will display its status. All parts should be listed as READY. If a part is listed as NOT WORKING, mark it as NOT WORKING in your SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG

        SYSTEM STATUS

         

        4. Next to each part, it will display its status. All parts should be listed as READY. If a part is listed as NOT WORKING, mark it as NOT WORKING in your SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG

        SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG

        OPEN DATA LOG

        5. If any parts are NOT WORKING, unmute the MICROPHONE and read:

        “This is the Probe officer. We have performed a systems check and have found that the Probe is NOT ready for launch.”

        — Or —

        If all parts are READY, unmute the MICROPHONE and read:

        “This is the Probe officer. We have performed a systems check and have found that the Probe is ready for launch.” 

        7. Mute the MICROPHONE.

        8. if the Probe is NOT ready to launch, scroll down to the section labeled “PROBE ASSEMBLY”.

                                                                                            – or – 

        If the Probe is READY TO LAUNCH, scroll down to the section labeled “PROBE LAUNCH” and follow those steps.

        PROBE ASSEMBLY

        Follow these directions for assembling and replacing parts listed as NOT WORKING in the Probe:

        1. Read the notes from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by clicking on the box labeled NOTES.
          NOTES

          The Europa probe is made up of various different components. Each component is responsible for a specific job:

          – The Transmitters and Receivers allow it to send data it collects back to us. This is MISSION CRITICAL for mission success.

          – The Navigation Computer tracks the location of the probe in space.

          – The Guidance Software controls the thrusters of the probe.

          – The Battery Packs allow the probe to receive power. This is MISSION CRITICAL for mission success.

          – The Gyroscope is designed to keep the Probe correctly positioned after launch in its journey to the ice sheet.

          – The Europa Ocean Ion Spectrometer is designed to scan for molecules and elements in Europa’s underground ocean. This is MISSION CRITICAL for mission success.

          – The Europa Imaging System is a system of cameras that collect images of the moon and its underground ocean.

          – The Europa Surface Radiometer measures the radioactivity at various layers of depth under Europa.

          Below the list of steps there is a PROBE ASSEMBLY DATA LOG. With the PROBE ASSEMBLY DATA LOG, you will use the instructions to instruct the Mission Controller which parts to use to replace the NOT WORKING parts.

          2. Open the PROBE ASSEMBLY DATA LOG and submit your recommendations.

          PROBE ASSEMBLY DATA LOG

          OPEN DATA LOG

          3. After completing the PROBE ASSEMBLY DATA LOG,  send the following message to “COM” in CHAT.

          The Probe team has message for the Mission Commander. Please replace the following Probe parts with new ones in the following order: _______________. 

          4. Once you have confirmation that the Mission Commander has replaced the parts, update the SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG by scrolling down to the SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG UPDATE, and then mark the replaced parts as READY.

          SYSTEMS CHECK DATA LOG UPDATE

          OPEN DATA LOG
          6. Enter the PROBE LAUNCH CODE to initiate the launch sequence.
          PROBE LAUNCH CODE

          7. Once you hit SUBMIT, unmute the MICROPHONE and read the following message:

          “The Probe team has a message for the Mission Commander. We have performed a systems check and have found that the Probe is ready for launch.” 

          8. Mute the MICROPHONE.

          9. Standby for probe launch. Observe your monitor. 

          Do not continue until Probe data is received. Record the PASSWORD for the data.

          FUTURE IMPACT SITE SELECTION

          1. After the Probe has been launched, you’ll need to conduct research to decide the next impact site for the Probe to gather additional data. In order to understand the the features of the sites you will choose from, read the research collected  by clicking on the box labeled SURFACE FEATURES. 

          SURFACE FEATURES

          The surface of Europa appears to be very fresh and young by geological standards, less than 100 million years old. Because of tidal heating, Europa could have active venting of water vapor. Europa also has a fractured appearance resulting from flexing of the moon’s surface as it circles Jupiter on its oval-shaped orbit. The fractures open, close, and slide past each other with each orbit where the stress from the flexing is the highest. In the past, the surface appears to have pulled open along some cracks and ridges, allowing huge tracts of warmer icy material to well up into the new gap and creating banded patterns. Other features called “chaos” probably formed as slightly warmer blobs of ice and/or water migrated upward within the ice shell, eventually breaking apart the surface. Chaos features typically appear as regions that are reddish non-ice material along cracks and within areas where the surface has been deformed.

          If we are trying to get the probe to Europa’s water ocean as easily as possible, consider how these features may ease the journey for the probe as the newer features represent areas on Europa’s surface that are stretched and pulled apart to allow new material to come up from the ocean underneath.

          2. Go to the FUTURE IMPACT SITE SELECTION DATA LOG and enter the PASSWORD from the probe for the data.

          FUTURE IMPACT SITE SELECTION DATA LOG

          OPEN DATA LOG

          FUTURE IMPACT SITE SELECTION

          1. Type the following message in CHAT and send to “COM”. 

          This is the Probe officer. The Probe team has decided the future impact site will be ____________. 

          2. Once you have typed it in the chat, hit SEND or hit ENTER to deliver the message to the COM officer. 

          3. Click “Submit” on the FUTURE IMPACT SITE SELECTION DATA LOG.

          FUTURE MISSION PROBE ASSEMBLY

          1. Read the notes from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by clicking on the box labeled NOTES.

          NOTES

          The Europa probe is made up of various different components. In some cases, it is necessary to have more than one of a particular part. This is particularly true of the Gyroscopes, battery packs, receivers and transmitters. In the case of the battery packs, receivers and transmitters, since at least one is CRITICAL for the mission to continue, it is important that there is a backup. In the case of the gyroscopes, it is necessary to have three different gyroscopes to keep the Probe correctly positioned after it launch during its journey to its destination. 

          GYROSCOPES – 

          Gyroscopes are everywhere in our modern world. You’ll find them in airplanes, space stations, satellites, probes and anything that spins. A gyroscope  is a device used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity. Gyroscopes, in their most basic form, are a spinning wheel/disk on an axle. In space, we need to orient the spacecraft in three positions – the x axis, y axis and z axis -( pitch, roll and yaw) so that the spacecraft can travel in the right direction or in the case of  a satellite, point itself in the proper direction. This is why we need an X, Y and Z gyroscope so that we are able to have the spacecraft in the correct attitude. 

          gyroscope or a Gyro sensor is present in your smartphone to sense angular rotational velocity and acceleration. Simply put, all those mobile games you are able to play using motion sense in your phones, tablets, etc, is due to a Gyroscope Sense.

          2. Open the FUTURE PROBE ASSEMBLY RESEARCH QUESTIONS DATA LOG and answer the questions.

          FUTURE PROBE ASSEMBLY DATA LOG

          OPEN DATA LOG

          1. Unmute your microphone and say the following message:

          This is the Probe officer. I have completed all my tasks.

          2. Wait quietly for any further instructions.

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