Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter
Few objects in our solar system command more fascination than the moons of Jupiter. Both Europa and Enceladus are believed to have vast oceans locked away under layers of ice that may very well harbor life. One of the quintessential questions in modern science is the question of whether or not we are alone. The answer could be found on one of those moons.
In the early 2000s, NASA scientists were buzzing about the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) mission. With a bold design and an audacious new ion propulsion system, the unmanned JIMO would travel to Jupiter and seek out life. Funding was withdrawn in 2005. The mission was slated to launch next year.
Our next best bet for studying the moons of Jupiter is JUICE, the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer. The European Space Agency hopes to launch the craft by 2022.