The Ultraviolet Spectrograph on the Europa Mission (Europa-UVS)
Monday, 14 December 2015: 13:43
3002 (Moscone West)
NASA's Europa multi-flyby mission is designed to provide a diversity of measurements suited to enrich our understanding of the potential habitability of this intriguing ocean world. The Europa mission's Ultraviolet Spectrograph, Europa-UVS, is the sixth in a series of successful ultraviolet imaging spectrographs (Rosetta-Alice, New Horizons Pluto-Alice, LRO-LAMP) and, like JUICE-UVS (now under Phase B development), is largely based on the most recent of these to fly, Juno-UVS. Europa-UVS observes photons in the 55-210 nm wavelength range, at moderate spectral and spatial resolution along a 7.5° slit. Three distinct apertures send light to the off-axis telescope mirror feeding the long-slit spectrograph: i) a main entrance airglow port is used for most observations (e.g., airglow, aurora, surface mapping, and stellar occultations); ii) a high-spatial-resolution port consists of a small hole in an additional aperture door, and is used for detailed observations of bright targets; and iii) a separate solar port allows for solar occultations, viewing at a 60° offset from the nominal payload boresight. Photon event time-tagging (pixel list mode) and programmable spectral imaging (histogram mode) allow for observational flexibility and optimal science data management. As on Juno-UVS, the effects of penetrating electron radiation on electronic parts and data quality are mitigated through contiguous shielding, filtering of pulse height amplitudes, management of high-voltage settings, and careful use of radiation-hard parts. The science goals of Europa-UVS are to: 1) Determine the composition & chemistry, source & sinks, and structure & variability of Europa's atmosphere, from equator to pole; 2) Search for and characterize active plumes in terms of global distribution, structure, composition, and variability; 3) Explore the surface composition & microphysics and their relation to endogenic & exogenic processes; and 4) Investigate how energy and mass flow in the Europa atmosphere, neutral cloud & plasma torus, and footprint on Jupiter. Here we present the UVS investigation by describing the science we plan to address, the salient details of the instrument, and the basic concept of operations.