NASA will test a robot that will travel under the ice in the upcoming southern summer of Antarctica, to use it in 2025 on a mission to find evidence of extraterrestrial life on a Jupiter’s moon.
The autonomous, one-meter-long robot, which is capable of operating in the water, has independent routes that allow it to travel under ice, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said in a statement on Tuesday.
The robot is able to “attach itself to the bottom layer of ice and move with the wheels so it can approach the layer between ice and water to perform sensitive measurements,” explained Andy Klesh of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement.
Also, the robot will be tested in Antarctica around the Australian Casey station for three weeks. Similarly to a submarine – it will be left submerged, installed for long periods in one place, to save energy.
NASA expects to reach Jupiter in 2025 to research one of its frozen moons, Europe, where it is believed that there is a great chance of finding evidence of extraterrestrial life in the Solar System.
“NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter has been investigating the moons of this planet since the late 1990s, including Europe. Evidence has been found of a salty ocean beneath Europe’s thick ice sheet, as well as a rocky ocean floor,” said NASA researcher Kevin Hand.
“This salty ocean could have double the amount of water on Earth and has all the necessary ingredients to develop simple living organisms inside,” the Jet Propulsion Laboratory expert said in a statement.
In Europe, NASA will have to drill between 10 and 20 kilometers of ice before it can reach the water, a problem that has not yet been resolved.