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NASA is already testing a robot that will find life in the solar system

NASA is already testing a robot that will find life in the solar system

A few months ago, NASA announced plans to develop a robot that would attempt to drill through the icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, then use a submersible to explore the depths below.

NASA definitely wants to find life

Researchers are already working on developing suitable devices for this, and it appears that they have taken an important first step. Europa-like worlds are a priority on NASA's list because they may harbor life, NASA reports. The universe today.

If technologies like the SLUSH (Search for Life Using Diving Head) probe are successful, we already have the means to carry out such a large-scale mission.

NASA's EELS robot snake, which they plan to use to drill through Europa's ice sheet to see what lies beneath. Screenshot: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

We don't want to be alone

The search for life has long puzzled astronomers. Since we can only rely on life on Earth outside of science fiction movies, researchers often rely on life needing sunlight, food, and water. However, we can also find amazing forms of life on Earth, which have found their place even in the most remote environments, even in the depths of the oceans.

The Mariana Trench is the deepest point on Earth, and all the animals that live there are challenged by the cold, extremely high pressure, and lack of sunlight. It may be the harshest environment on our planet, but even here life thrives, such as the rhythmic, rhythmic deep-sea crustacean Hirondellea Gigas.

Europa is covered by a thick layer of ice, but beneath it lies a planet-wide liquid ocean. The researchers hypothesize that deep conditions in Europa's vicinity may not differ much from those in the Mariana Trench, so they hope to find life elsewhere in the solar system.

Hirundelia gigas The life of a crustacean

Hirondellea gigas swims merrily even at a depth of 10,900 metres. picture: Wikimedia Commons / Daigo Azuma

Who lives there…

If it exists, getting there will be difficult. Not only Europa, but also Enceladus and even Mars may have water beneath its ice sheets. Ice sheets can be up to a kilometer thick, so a technology similar to SLUSH has been developed to overcome them.

The solution they came up with isn't terribly new, as sensors similar to SLUSH have been tested before. However, the idea is surprisingly simple. The probe uses a drilling rig to penetrate the ice, then partially melts pieces of ice, allowing the probe to push the ice behind it as it descends.

The “light saber”-like probe will then be able to transmit data from groundwater to the lander. The cable belt will be used to transmit data. However, NASA will be prepared for anything, so if the fiber optic cable breaks, the microfiber will act as an antenna. Then the lander can start transmitting data.

Jupiter's moon Europa is a moon

Jupiter's icy moon Europa. Source: Flickr

We'd be throwing garbage on an alien moon

The rope will be coiled and placed in a spool that will be left in the ice. Of course, it is understandable that we would leave probes behind to explore the universe, but the mission could certainly be carried out without starting to produce waste on a new celestial body. However, there appears to be a reason for this, as the rollers are deployed to act as receivers and transmitters for transmitting data across the thick ice.

See also  Can we find the first stars in the universe?

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