NASA Is Building Robots to Explore Other Planets: NASA is developing robots capable of swimming on other planets’ waters; an initiative which may prove invaluable in the near future.
NASA scientists are already planning their next move amid Mars’ many difficulties in space exploration. One goal of theirs is to find evidence of past or present life elsewhere within our solar systems – with scanning water on some stars being one effective means.
There fore we can point to Saturn’s ice moon Enceladus as a potential hiding spot for bodies of water beneath its heavy blanket of ice. NASA is certain of this because when Cassini spacecraft flew over Enceladus in 2004, it detected interesting compounds among the haze – one being methane, commonly associated with life.
But you need the correct tools if you hope to explore Enceladus’ underwater regions and other stars similar to it in the future, and NASA is currently involved in this venture.
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NASA is developing robots to swim on other planets
Ethan Schaler, a robotic mechanical engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has proposed an idea that involves melting ice on planet surfaces and then releasing water drones the size of cell phones to explore extraterrestrial oceans and collect information.
The Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers (SWIM) project is still in its early stages. A feasibility study was to be conducted as part of its first phase, which received 125,000 USD in funding. Now, a second phase involves designing 3D printed prototypes and testing them in various settings this work is funded by NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts programme at a cost of $600,000.
A project with unrealized goals
Ethan Schaler notes in a statement that by employing an army of autonomous robots, “we will be able to explore significantly more ocean water and improve our measurements by having multiple robots collect data at once.”
NASA describes this project as a means to “minimize risk while improving science.” SWIM drones will be released from a Cryobot device submerged in water and collected information that is sent to a transmission tower on land. The aim is for the Cryobot to go as deep under the ice -and hence into water–as possible while bringing along drones for data collection in places currently impracticable.
NASA is creating aquatic robots to travel to other worlds.
NASA describes each robot as equipped with a propulsion system, on-board computer and ultrasonic communication system in addition to basic pressure, temperature, salinity and acidity sensors. Schaler Phase II study will include chemical sensors to track biomarkers – indicators of life – in order to monitor these indicators of life.
Soon, diving drones in space?
NASA holds high hopes for this research project; however it is still in its infancy and does not currently tie into any planned missions meaning even if all development work succeeds its use may not come until 2030 at least.
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