2014 Volume 12 Issue ists29 Pages Tk_7-Tk_11
Enceladus is the only icy satellite known to exhibits on-going geological activity of water-rich plumes derived from the interior ocean. Here, we propose a sample return and in-situ measurement mission for Enceladus' plume materials. Depending on the cost, mission duration, and propulsion system, we propose three types of missions to Enceladus; type 1: free-return trajectory, type 2: trajectory orbiting Saturn, and type 3: trajectory orbiting Enceladus. Type 2 and 3 are preferable to type 1 in order to achieve lower encountering velocity to the plumes (> 4 km/s and 0.2 km/s for type 2 and 3, respectively) and, thus, to collect multiple and intact samples. High resolution mass spectroscopy of the gas components will provide essential information to understand the physical and chemical conditions of both the interior ocean and the solar nebula. Furthermore, detailed onboard and onshore analyses of returned samples could provide geochemical, preboplogical, and, potentially, biological context in the interior ocean of Enceladus.