A robotic snake searching for life on Saturn’s icy moon

Researchers at NASA and the California Institute of Technology are currently building a special robot that can enter the glaciers of the moon to test the hypothesis.

The robot is about 5 meters long, weighs about 100 kilograms and looks like a mechanical snake from a sci-fi horror movie of the 80s.

The robot snake has to squeeze through the ice

His full name is Surveyor of outdoor life in biologybut it is known by the acronym EELS, which means “eel”.

The robot is inspired by the way snakes and snakes move.

The EELS consists of ten equal parts that can rotate and have a thread on the outside.

The propeller allows EELS to move over very slippery and steep terrain – like faults on Enceladus.

The EELS robot must swing across the pack ice on Enceladus, which According to the research of astronomers Its average thickness is about 12 kilometers.

But at the lunar south pole, the ice sheet is less than 3 km thick.

NASA engineers want to send the sea snakes into a crack in the ice and spin down to see if there really is a liquid ocean swirling underneath.

Snake sees with 3D eyes

Once the robot snake reaches the ice sheet, it will deploy its measuring instruments to study the climate.

In the front part, the head, the hose contains several devices that can monitor humidity, pressure, temperature, and electrical conductivity, among other things.

We hope these measurements will show scientists on Earth whether life exists on Enceladus.

Snake in its infancy

Snake can also send movies home. His eyes are 3D cameras that send images back to Earth in real time.

However, it will be some time before the robotic python is ready to glide into space.

EELS is still in the experimental stage, but researchers hope the robot will be ready by 2024.

The serpent would then take about 12 years to reach its icy destination near Saturn.

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Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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