(Photo: ASTC/Uppsala University)
Jupiter's moon, Europa, could be searched by a tiny submarine that scientists hope will be able to penetrate deep beneath the icy landscape and search below for alien life forms, according to researchers.
Jupiter's icy moon, Europa, is the target for some scientists who hope that a tiny submarine, barely the size of two soda cans, can investigate the frosty landscape.
Scientists hope that the small super hi-tech craft could satisfy the balance required between cost and capability, to conduct a robotic mission in search for alien life deep beneath Europa's icy shell.
The concept for the submarine came from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California and Uppsala University in Sweden. The small craft would allow explorers to keep costs to a minimum, but at the same time could prove effective in the search for alien life, scientists have said.
The tiny craft would only need to drill a tiny borehole through the thick ice that covers Europa's surface.
Jonas Jonsson, an engineer now with Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies Inc. at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. has said, "What I think is exciting with this is to be able to explore previously inaccessible areas, to explore where no "man" has explored before."
Scientists have found bacteria deep in the Artic, where freezing cold conditions on Earth had previously suggested no life was possible. However, their discovery has led scientists to believe that some form of bacteria or other microorganisms may just be able to survive in the freezing icy conditions of Europa as well.
However, they are sure that if there were any life on Europa it would have to be found deep beneath the surface, which scientists are sure is too hostile an environment to maintain any kind of life-form. As well as the 1 to 2 miles of ice on Europa's surface, there is also strong radiation from Jupiter's magnetosphere slamming into the moon's surface, making life likely impossible.
For that reason, scientists hope the tiny submarine can explore deep into the moon in the search for the first signs of alien life.
Here is a previous video report on a liquid lake on Europa: