NASA has been placing wheeled rovers on the floor of Mars for years now to explore the floor of the planet. NASA is fairly positive that a few of the targets for future exploration have liquid oceans below thick ice sheets. That water is among the more than likely areas to seek out life exterior our planet.
Exploring these aquatic environments takes a really completely different type of rover than NASA makes use of on Mars. The rover that the company is testing is called BRUIE or Buoyancy Rover for Below-Ice Exploration. The rover is being developed by a group at JPL in Pasadena.
The purpose of the group engaged on BRUIE is to create a rover that can function within the subsurface waters of moons like Europa and Enceladus, beneath ice sheets that are 6 to 12 miles thick. The rover is presently testing in Antarctic waters as a result of they’re as shut as we are able to get to the extraterrestrial waters. The rover can preserve its place through the use of buoyancy to stay anchored towards the ice, and it’s stated to be impervious to most currents.
The rover can energy down and solely activate when it must take a measurement. In testing, the rover stayed tethered to the ice because the group used its devices, together with a pair of HD cameras. The rover had beforehand been examined in Alaska and the Arctic; that is its first check in Antarctica.
The group traveled to the seashore close to Casy station, the place they drilled holes within the ice to submerge the rover. The group will proceed to work with BRUIE below the ice till it could survive for months at a time, remotely navigate with out a tether, and explore the ocean at larger depths.