Despite the financial crisis, NASA and the European Space Agency are pressing ahead with a multi-billion-dollar plan to explore the planet Jupiter.
The project will dovetail with efforts to mitigate the crisis by allowing United States and European Union regulators to explore the need for bank recapitalisation on the gas giant. At 1300 times the size of Earth, Jovian financial institutions could be sitting on as much as $4.7 quadrillion worth of toxic assets.
The project will also allow for exploration of the icy sixth moon of Jupiter, Europa. Previous missions have characterised Europa as covered in a 30-kilometre-thick blanket of ice and engaged in an extravagant programme of subsidising further ice production.
Justifying a mission to a gaseous planet is difficult given that the scientists’ usual lunar/Martian excuse, “we’re looking for water on the surface” probably won’t fly. Although you have to assume they’ll try it on anyway.
Rejected reasons to fly to Jupiter include “why climb the highest mountain?”, “to study the effects of climate change,” and “excelsior!”
There is also a chance that the EU will recognise the mission’s potential to bypass Russia and give Western Europe an alternative supplier of gas. Soon after, EU accession negotiations would begin.
Scientists are split on whether a Jovian mission would anger or please Jupiter, King of the Gods, God of the Sky, God of Thunder. He can be a real shit sometimes.