Space & Astronomy
Laser device could drill in to icy moons
April 23, 2012 | 2 comments
Image Credit: NASA
A new robotic device that uses lasers shot through fiber-optic cable has been developed by scientsts.
The device is a step forward in the future exploration of icy bodies such as Europa which is believed to hide an ocean of liquid water below a surface crust of ice. Conventional methods for getting down through the ice won't work as batteries wouldn't last long enough and solar power won't work once the probe has drilled down far enough.
Inventor Bill Stone believes that the new cryobot design would be able to succeed where these other methods fail. "Our modest goal over the next three years is to use a 5,000-watt laser to send a cryobot through up to 250 meters of ice," he says.
This new technology could allow robotic probes to penetrate thick layers of ice to explore Antarctic lakes or the subterranean oceans on icy moons like Europa or Enceladus, and even power a new kind of rocket into space.
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