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Tiny sub to search for life on Europa ?

Posted on Wednesday, 12 June, 2013 | Comment icon 22 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf

Image credit: NASA

A miniature submarine could one day be used to explore the depths of Europa's mysterious ocean.

Jupiter's icy moon is widely hailed as one of the most promising places to look for life because it is home to what is believed to be a vast ocean of liquid water beneath a relatively thin shell of ice. A mission to look for life on Europa would be no easy task however, on top of the usual perils of landing on another world scientists would need to find a way to get a robotic vehicle down through the ice before any exploration could take place.

One of the most promising ideas involves the use of a tiny submarine no larger than two soda cans. Originally conceived by JPL and Sweden's Uppsala University, the sub would be light enough to be carried on a spacecraft and small enough to be able to access the depths through only a small borehole in the ice.

"One of the first visitors to Jupiter's icy moon of Europa could be a tiny submarine barely larger than two soda cans."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 13 June, 2013, 10:36
Whilst that is true I don't think it is the majority view. We also have to be realistic, in a time of world wide recession, and when many people are facing austerity, missions to other worlds are difficult to sell. Even in times when the world economy is booming there is only a finite budget for space exploration. When NASA (or ESA for that matter) propose a new mission there are always many proposals, only one of which will get funded. Many a good proposal has not made it to the design and construction stage. The space agencies also have to walk a fine line. On the one hand there is the... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by kwin on 14 June, 2013, 3:41
The cost of a submersible the size of two soda cans - millions The support vehicle, research & travel costs - hundreds of millions Seeing the 'bait' swallowed - priceless
Comment icon #15 Posted by Merc14 on 14 June, 2013, 3:51
So well said!! Great visual, write a movie mate!
Comment icon #16 Posted by DONTEATUS on 14 June, 2013, 3:52
We shall see I hope in my life time ! Go NASA ! GO !
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 June, 2013, 11:11
If that were to happen it would justify every single cent spent. The discovery of a complex life form on another world would constitute one of (if not THE) greatest scientific discoveries in history... even if the equipment does get eaten .
Comment icon #18 Posted by Bavarian Raven on 16 June, 2013, 0:33
So ice fishing trip to Europa?
Comment icon #19 Posted by Merc14 on 16 June, 2013, 1:02
Yeah man, just bring about 20 kilometers of line .
Comment icon #20 Posted by Bavarian Raven on 16 June, 2013, 4:35
Nah, I've heard it's as shallow as two or three klicks. So bets on who catches the bigger fish?
Comment icon #21 Posted by Erowin on 1 July, 2013, 4:39
What if there are sentient fish-people aliens living there? Oh man I really just want aliens already, how am I going to become a space archeologist at this rate

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