Gravity assisted landing on Europa

Diagram showing proposed landing manoeuvre on Europa
Diagram showing proposed landing manoeuvre on Europa

During the first few orbits of Europa, highly sensitive spectrographic analysing instruments on board Cymru III detected a tenuous atmosphere comprising molecular oxygen and trace quantities of methane. We had hoped to use this faint remnant of gas for what is known as an atmospheric-assist. This is where we calculate a course which would take Cymru III on a trajectory through these high altitude atoms, such that their friction when combined with the high speed of the craft, create enough aerodynamic drag to degrade the orbit and facilitate a descent to the planet’s surface.

But the number 4 key is still missing on our calculator and we don’t know how to do all that stuff anyway. So our plan is that once Dilwyn spies that their orbit has taken them over the planned landing site he is to quickly move all the on-board space furniture and provisions to the very front of the craft, including himself and Megan. And this should then tip the spaceship forwards, pointing it downwards and initiate plummet phase to the surface many thousands of kilometres below.

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