The Io white paper being authored by Dave Williams from ASU with many others, including myself, in the Io community providing input. The paper is split up into two parts: Part 1 discusses why exploring Io should be important to the rest of the community and what kinds of science goals are needed for a future mission to the satellite; Part 2 explores the types of missions that should be sent to Io in the next decade and beyond.
While the first part of the white paper roughly follows the document from the previous decadal survey, explaining why exploration of Io is important, the second parts provides updates for recommendations to the NASA Space Science Division for future Io exploration:
- A balanced program between life-focused and general exploration missions
- A more modest (compared to EJSM) 'Io Observer' Discover- or New Frontiers-class mission
- The support of the IVO mission, currently being studied for the next Discovery AO
- New Frontiers-class mission concepts for the next New Frontiers AO that allows radioisotope power sources
- An Io orbiter in the 2023-2033 timeframe to follow-up on the discoveries of a Jupiter-orbiting 'Io Observer'
- Io in-situ missions in the same timeframe, including penetrators, landers, and rovers that would help constrain the size and physical state of Io's core and better understand Io's surface and lower atmospheric chemistry
- A space-based ultraviolet telescope to replace Hubble with diffraction-limited capability in the next decade
- Long-lived Jupiter missions that would provide opportunities to observe Io over long-time frames (Juno and EJSM may provide these types of observations over the next two decades)
- Expanding the time available for planetary astronomy on 10-meter class telescopes with Adaptive Optics capability. Such time availability would allow for long-term studies of Io's volcanic activity even without a spacecraft in the Jupiter system
- Including support for ground-based observation programs with Jupiter system missions to follow-up on discoveries of volcanic eruptions
Link: Planetary Science Decadal Survey White Papers [www8.nationalacademies.org]