by Paul Seaburn November 14, 2017 (mysteriousuniverse.org)
Russian billionaire and internet oligarch, Yuri Milner, announced plans to pay for the first privately funded interplanetary space mission to search for life on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon.
Famous for its columns or ‘plumes’ of water vapor venting from the moon’s southern polar region, Enceladus is considered by mainstream scientists to have the best chance of harboring some form of life in the solar system besides Earth.
Milner wants to beat NASA to Enceladus, which is also planning a billion dollar trip to the distant moon in ten years.
It appears that Milner is more interested in deep space exploration than his contemporaries, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who are looking to create near-space business enterprises.
Look out Elon and Jeff … there’s a new billionaire in space town and he’s planning to boldly go – or at least boldly fund a trip – where no billionaire has gone before. Russian rich man Yuri Milner, one of the biggest players in the Russian part of the Internet, announced plans to pay for the first privately funded interplanetary space mission to search for life on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon and the solar system object considered to have the best chance of harboring some form of life. Is Milner serious or just trying to distract attention from revelations in the “Paradise Papers” about his involvement in helping the Russian government covertly invest in Facebook and Twitter?
“We formed a sort of little workshop around this idea: Can we design a low-cost, privately funded mission to Enceladus which can be launched relatively soon and that can look more thoroughly at those plumes and try to see what’s going there ahead of a more expensive mission that NASA is considering right now, which might take maybe 10 years to launch?”
GeekWire reports that Milner made this statement at The Economist’s New Space Age conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle last week. The ‘plumes’ are the columns of water vapor and simple hydrocarbons venting from the moon’s south polar region that were first seen and later passed through by the Cassini probe. The “more expensive mission” he’s referring to is NASA’s proposed $1 billion New Frontiers program which would not launch until at least the mid-2020s.
If you’re wondering whether he will accomplish this lofty goal, Milner is a billionaire who has put money into space projectsbefore. He’s invested $100 million in the radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence (Breakthrough Listen), another $100 million to send a fleet of nano-probes to the Alpha Centauri star system (Breakthrough Starshot) and more financial support to enhance the capability of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and to launch – both for improving observations of the Alpha Centauri system.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.