NASA scientists in Antarctica have tested a new underwater rover BRUIE that they believe could help them find life on Europa, the partially frozen Jupiter moon. This Rover is Called BRUIE ( Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration )
The device was submerged beneath the surface of the Australian Casey station. it’s ability to float under ice kept it firmly in position, saving energy in each movement.
In addition, it is also equipped with a system that allows it to preserve its energy when it is turned off while collecting samples or stationary fleet.
The specialists of the US space agency aim to use this technology to search in regions of the moon Europa described as “contact point”, or areas where ice and liquid meet.
“The ice sheets cover these distant oceans, serving as a window into the depths, and ice chemistry could keep aquatic life under it,” Kevin Hand said in a NASA statement.
“Here on Earth, the ice that covers the polar oceans has a similar function, and our team is particularly interested in what happens in these regions.”
However, there is a difference between worlds. The ice sheets in Europe are on average between 10 and 20 kilometers thick, while those in Antarctica barely reach 5 meters at their thickest point.
To cross such an ice barrier and make way for BRUIE, the mission on Europa will depend on another robot: «bot tunnel», a device that has nuclear propulsion and will be equipped to pierce the dense layer of ice.
The researchers say that BRUIE’s long-term goal, after reaching the subsurface ocean, is to be able to operate independently for as many months as possible before shutting down.
The current design of the rover includes two chambers and probes to measure the temperature, salinity and oxygen levels of the water.
And although these measurements are fundamental to the emergence of life on Earth, NASA is aware of the need to alter these tools to consider the fact that life in other worlds might have developed depending on other conditions.
The next mission to Jupiter is planned for the year 2025 when Europa Clipper is launched with the aim of taking several readings and images of the giant and its moons.
Source: NASA / Daily Mail