Space & Astronomy
Tiny sub to search for life on Europa ?
June 12, 2013 | 21 comments
Image Credit: NASA
A miniature submarine could one day be used to explore the depths of Europa's mysterious ocean.
[!gad]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. The small craft might help strike the right balance between cost and capability for a robotic mission to look for alien life in the ocean beneath Europa's icy crust.
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