Nasa has unveiled a ‘robosquid’ it hopes could find alien life.
The ‘soft robot’ is being developed to explore underground oceans of planets like Europa.
This rover would resemble an squid with a short antenna on its back that harvests power from locally changing magnetic fields.
It is one of 15 proposals for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that aims to turn science fiction into science fact through the development of pioneering technologies.
‘The latest selections include a number of exciting concepts,’ said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
One of the selected proposals calls for the use of a soft-robotic rover for missions that can’t be accomplished with conventional power systems.
This rover would resemble an eel with a short antenna on its back that harvests power from locally changing magnetic fields.
The goal is to enable amphibious exploration of gas-giant moons like Europa.
‘We propose a rover architecture for Europa and other planetary environments where soft robotics enables scientific investigation or human-precursor missions that cannot be accomplished with solar or nuclear power,’ said Mason Peck, who developed the concept at Cornell.
‘This rover resembles a squid, with tentacle-like structures that serve both as electrodynamic tethers to harvest power from locally changing magnetic fields and as a means of bio-inspired propulsion.
‘This work will assess the possibility that any life on Europa may be powered by electromagnetic energy, with singular implications for astrobiology.’
Roughly the size of Earth’s moon, Europa is structurally like a liquor-filled chocolate, with a liquid ocean that could be 62 miles (100 kilometers) deep.
Another proposal will look at using two glider-like unmanned aerial vehicles connected by an ultra-strong cable at different altitudes that sail without propulsion.
The vehicle would use wind shear in the lower stratosphere (approximately 60,000 ft.), similar to a kite surfer, where the upper aircraft provides lift and aerodynamic thrust, and the lower aircraft provides an upwind force to keep it from drifting downwind.
If successful, this atmospheric satellite could remain in the stratosphere for years, enabling NASA’s Earth science missions, monitoring capabilities or aircraft navigation at a fraction of the cost of orbital satellite networks.
Employing a novel mobility concept, the Cryogenic Reservoir Inventory by Cost-Effective Kinetically Enhanced Technology (CRICKET) proposal explores volatiles, such as hydrogen, nitrogen and water, stored in permanently shadowed regions on planetary bodies.
Inexpensive robotic crawlers, hoppers and soccer-ball style buckey-bots would explore the surface of these dark regions for water and other compounds.
Multiple bots could be used to develop a high-resolution map to aid in potentially using these resources.
The projects are chosen through a peer-review process that evaluates their potential, technical approach and benefits that can be realized in a reasonable timeframe.
All concepts are very early in the development cycle and represent multiple technology areas, including aircraft propulsion, human life support, science instruments, unique robotic concepts and exploring other diverse technology paths needed to meet NASA’s strategic goals.
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”..keep that which is avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith…”-1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV).
“…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” – Daniel 12:4 (KJV).
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof – Psalms 107:23 -25 (KJV).
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:- 2 Peter 3:5 (KJV).
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. – Psalms 95:5 (KJV).
He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses- Psalm 33:5-7 (KJV).
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:21 (KJV).
Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. – Hosea 4:3 (KJV).
So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. – Ezekiel 38:20 (KJV).
And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. – 2 Samuel 22:16 (KJV).