Saturn’s rings amaze. Since they can be seen with modest stargazing equipment, medieval astronomers could observe them. Saturn isn’t simply rings. One of Jupiter’s many satellites has long intrigued scientists searching for alien life.
Saturn’s ice satellite Enceladus is unique. Ice usually hides water, according to physics. According to science, water is life.
How do you drill ice millions of km away? NASA’s solution is unique.
A snake-like robot will explore Enceladus for the space agency.
Long-named snake-robot. EELS—Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor. JPL is developing it.
JPL calls EELS “snake-like, self-propelled robot”. Segments have “first-of-a-kind rotating propulsion units”. These help it grab objects and swim underwater.
16-foot, 220-pound robotic snake. EELS has 3D mapping equipment. It sends live visuals. EELS’s payload will detect subsurface pressure.
JPL tests the robot. The robot tested at Jasper National Park’s Athabasca Glacier, according to media accounts.
“We are early in the project, but it is achievable in our lifetime,” EELS Deputy Project Manager Rachel Etheredge told CBS News last year. “…It’s an ambitious collaboration, and we’re motivated by our shared excitement for this concept and the science we could gather with EELS.”
“The EELS system is a mobile instrument platform conceived to explore internal terrain structures, assess habitability and ultimately search for evidence of life,” NASA states of its development. “It can navigate ocean-world-inspired terrain, fluidized media, enclosed labyrinths, and liquids.”