NASA to Seek Possible Life on Jupiter Moon with ‘Tunnelbot’

//NASA to Seek Possible Life on Jupiter Moon with ‘Tunnelbot’

NASA to Seek Possible Life on Jupiter Moon with ‘Tunnelbot’


The search for alien life is not only limited to Mars but extends to other planet’s moon as well.

Europa has a surface of smooth ice-rock crust which envelops a water ocean. This circumstance seems to make this Jupiter moon a possible place where life could exist such as aliens and microorganisms.

NASA’s Galileo spacecraft has accomplished numerous flybys of Europa between 1995 and 2003. A number of findings from moon observations indicated confirmation of a liquid ocean underneath Jupiter moon’s icy facade.

A team of scientists is collaborating with NASA recommending the use of a nuclear-powered tunneling robot. They asserted that the proposal will help them detect if there is existence underneath the ice of Europa.

The prospective tunneling robot or “tunnelbot” develops as the COMPASS
team finalized hypothesis research established on technologies efficient of boring into Europa’s blanket of ice. The device is going to be built with sensors that would transfer the acquired data back to Earth.

According to COMPASS member Andrew Dombard, the concentration of the ice covering ranges from 2 to 30 kilometers. He detailed it as a principal obstacle any lander will need to prevail over to fetch areas they believe have a likelihood of occupying biosignatures instance of life on Europa.

Scientists are convinced that Europa could have microscopic organisms living in its liquid ocean. Dombard and wife D’Arcy Meyer-Dombard introduced their solution at the American Geophysical Union conference this week in Washington. The couple is both associate professors at the University of Illinois.

Dombard specified, “We didn’t worry about how our tunnelbot would make it to Europa or get deployed into the ice. We just assumed it could get there and we focused on how it would work during descent to the ocean.”

The tunnelbot will examine ice across the shell including the water at the ice-water interface. It would likewise explore for liquid water “lakes” in the ice shell.

There are 2 designs developed for the tunnelbot. The first design would be run by a nuclear reactor. The second will rather use General Purpose Heat, a radioactive heat source. The heat from both sources will thaw the concrete ice shell. The tunnelbot will utilize a series of “repeaters” and fiber-optic cables to corresponding with Earth.

The COMPASS  team consists of other scientists and  engineers which include Steven Oleson and J. Michael Newman from NASA and Kathleen Craft from Johns Hopkins
University.

NASA generally funds concept studies to advance and analyze new technology, however, there is no approval yet from the space agency regarding the tunnelbot.

 


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2018-12-20T06:08:47+00:00

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