NASA Plans for a Nuclear-Powered Robot to Search for Aliens

December 19, 2018 By IdeaConnection

NASAIn a bold attempt to find alien life a number of scientists including researchers at NASA have put forward a plan to send a nuclear-powered robot to look for ET on Europa, one of the moons orbiting Jupiter.

Once there it would drill through the satellite's ice sheet to see if there is life hiding beneath the surface.

According to many scientists, the salty ocean beneath the moon's icy covering is one of the most promising places in our solar system to find extraterrestrial beings.

To get to this vast body of water the robot, called tunnelbot will have to drill through ice that is thought to be anywhere between 2 and 30 kilometers thick.

“We have performed a concept study for a nuclear-powered tunneling probe (a tunnelbot) that can traverse through the ice shell and reach the ocean, carrying a payload that can search for nested, corroborative evidence for extant/extinct life,” the researchers wrote in a proposal given at the 2018 meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

“The tunnelbot would also assess the habitability of the ice shell and underlying ocean.”

Challenges

The tunnelbot project is not without its challenges such as how the robot will get to Europa, how deployment on the surface will work and how it will send back data and messages once it has drilled through the icy crust.

While this is just a proposal at this stage NASA has said that sending a probe to the icy moon is one of its major ambitions for the coming decades.

 



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