Examining a distant moon usually entails stunting around its uniquely inhospitable surface, but on icy sea moons such as Saturn's Enceladus, it might be better to figure things out from the bottom up. This rover, to be soon tested in Antarctica, could one day overturn along the underside of the ice crust in the strange ocean of the world.
It is believed that these oceanic moons may be the most likely opportunity to find symptoms. life past or present. But exploring them is not an easy task.
Little is known about these months, and the missions we have planned are very focused on surface exploration, not penetrating their deepest secrets. But if we know what is happening under an ice mile (water or other), we need something that can survive and move down there.
Hovering for under- Ice Exploration, or BRUIE, is a robotic reconnaissance platform that is being developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. It looks a bit like a hovercraft with industrial power (do you remember them?), And as you can guess from its name, it sails upside down on its ice and makes itself erect enough to give it wheel traction.
We have found that life often lives on the boundary, the seabed and the ice-water boundary on top. Most submarines have a hard time exploring this area because the sea currents could cause them to fall or lose too much a position to maintain energy, ”explained BRUIE chief engineer Andy Klesh in a JPL blog post.
Unlike conventional submarines. , however, this would be able to stay in one place and even temporarily turn off, while maintaining its position and only waking up the measurement. This could greatly extend its operational duration.
While the San Fernando Valley is a great analog for many dusty extraterrestrial sun-lit environments, in fact it has nothing like an ocean covered with ice. So the team went to Antarctica.
The project has been developing since 2012 and has been tested in Alaska (pictured above) and the Arctic. Antarctica, however, is an ideal place to test widespread deployment – eventually for months. Try it where the sea ice recedes a few kilometers from the pole.
Testing potential rover science equipment is also fine because in a situation where we look for signs of life, accuracy and accuracy, JPL Techniques will be backed by the Australian Antarctic program that maintains the Casey station on which the mission will be based.