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This Nuclear Robot Could Tunnel for Alien Life on Europa

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 Astronomy   |   Science
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This nuclear-powered tunneling robot could one day find life on Europa. Here’s how it works.

Thumbnail image courtesy Alexander Pawlusik, LERCIP Internship Program, NASA Glenn Research Center.

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Wild 'Tunnelbot' Designs Could Crack Secrets of Icy Jupiter Moon Europa
“Because the team wants to be sure to burrow all the way through the ice, that means they don't know how far the tunnelbot needs to be able to move. So Dombard and his colleagues worked with a fairly conservative estimate, figuring the tunnelbot would need to travel up to about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) down through the shell.”

A Nuclear Tunneling Worm Could Help Us Find Out What's Beneath Europa's Ice
“While the Europa Clipper's launch is TBD, scientists are already working on the big problem of getting through all that ice to see what's below. Working with NASA, a team of scientists have proposed a solution: a nuclear-powered tunneling robot.”

Gone Fishing: A Concept Study of a Tunneling Probe Mission to Europa
“To that end, we have performed a concept study for a nuclear powered tunneling probe (a tunnelbot) that can traverse through the ice shell and reach the ocean, carrying a payload that can search for nested, corroborative evidence for extant/extinct life.”


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