Sunday, August 2, 2009

NASA funded robots to search for life under Arctic ice

In a mission that is apparently similar to searching for life under the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa (sans the space travel part), three robots are set to start a mission to explore the underwater hot springs under the ice of the Arctic: because someone else did the Antarctic last year. On a 40 day expedition in July, researchers from Cape Cod hope to use three new robotic vehicles -- two that can operate without cables under ice -- to find life that resides in the hot streams along the techtonic boundary between Eurasia and North America. Although the robots can descend over 3 miles under the water working just meters from the bottom to photograph objects and collect samples, the task of the NASA-funded $450,000 Puma and Jaguar robots will be hindered by the rough terrain and their inability to surface through the ice. Sounds like NASA's got quite a while to go until it can submarine around Europa -- they probably won't be able to surface there at all.

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