NASA will test a robot that travels under the ice in the next southern summer in Antarctica, to use it in the future on a mission to search for extraterrestrial life on a Jupiter moon in 2025.
The three-foot autonomous robot, which is capable of operating in the water, has independent wheels that allow it to move under the ice, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said Tuesday in a statement.
This robot is capable of “adhering to the bottom of the ice and moving backward using wheels so that it can approach the interface between ice and water for sensitive measurements,” said Andy Klesh, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the NASA, in the statement of the AAD.
Also, this robot, which has already been deployed in Alaska and the Arctic and will be tested in Antarctica around the Australian Casey station for three weeks, can remain, as a submarine does, in one place for periods long without spending your energy.
NASA plans to go to Jupiter in 2025 to investigate one of its icy moons, Europe, where it is believed there are many possibilities to find extraterrestrial life in the Solar System.
“NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter in the late 1990s investigated the planet’s moons, including Europe. They found strong evidence of a salty ocean beneath Europe’s thick ice crust, as well as a rocky ocean floor,” he said. Kevin Hand, NASA scientist.
“This salty ocean can have more than twice the Earth’s water and has all the right ingredients for living organisms of simple life forms,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory expert said in the statement.
On moon Europe, NASA would have to drill between 6 and 12 miles of ice before it can reach the water, an issue that has not yet been resolved.
“We will likely have to drop transmission discs every 320 feet to carry the signals from the robot to a surface base station before the information is transmitted to Earth via satellite,” Klesh explained.