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Will NASA Send a Swimming Robot to Explore the Oceans of Europa?

posted: 05/14/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
NASA NIAC Concept
NASA/Cornell University/NSF

We love our friends Mars rover Curiosity and Opportunity, but the next generation of space exploration is going to require some serious technological upgrades - the Martian desert landscape is nothing compared to the subterranean oceans and cryptovolcanoes that scientists suspect are present on other planets.

To solve this problem, engineers have proposed a soft-robotic rover, capable of exploring foreign environments, such as the depths of subterranean ocean housed on Jupiter's moon, Europa. The bot derives its power from the local magnetic fields found on other celestial bodies.

Developed by an engineering team from Cornell University, the proposal has received a preliminary $100,000 grant to fund the creation of a prototype. If NASA decides to continue with the proposal, the team will receive an additional $500,000 grant.

"The latest NIAC selections include a number of exciting concepts," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. "We are working with American innovators to reimagine the future of aerospace and focus our investments on concepts to address challenges of current interests both in space and here on Earth."

Click here for more information from NASA

Learn more about Europa:

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Europa's Living Ocean
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