June 9, 2023


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Surveyor of External Life in Exobiology: – Searching for life with a robotic snake

In recent years, snake bots have played an increasingly important role in research and military needs.

By moving like snakes, they have the opportunity to reach places where other robots must pass, such as narrow corridors. They can also carry various equipment regarding disaster rescue and military reconnaissance.

Snake bots can be adapted to various environments and complex terrains. This they can from, among other things Explore the surrounding space.

NASA will now send snake robots into space on a very special mission.

Down to strange depths

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), scientists are developing a robotic python whose mission is to search for life in space. It’s reports NASA Even on their websites.

Snake Shape: Here we see the first prototype of a sea snake. Image: NASA/JPL-CalTech
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Dubbed the Extraterrestrial Life Surveyor (EELS), the snake robot is an elongated robot designed with rotating thrusters along its entire body. These belts, skimmer mechanisms and propeller units operate underwater.

According to the lab, it should enable EELS to move in ocean-like environments, closed maze-like environments and through fluids.

In a comment on the scientific site ResultsPrincipal investigator Hiroo Ono describes EELS as a “very versatile, highly intelligent, and very cool snake robot.”

A unique image of a dying star

A unique image of a dying star

Saturn’s icy moon

Currently, EELS has been tested at the Athabasca Glacier and the volcanic Mount Meager, both of which are located in Canada.

EELS will initially explore EnceladusIt is one of several moons orbiting Saturn. The Moon is light in color, covered in ice, and presents several different types of terrain—plains, craters, hills, and cracks.

Enceladus: In 2006, indications of liquid water were discovered beneath the moon's surface.  Image: NASA/NTB

Enceladus: In 2006, indications of liquid water were discovered beneath the moon’s surface. Image: NASA/NTB
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According to the Norwegian Lexicon Store, Enceladus has an atmosphere.

Water, heat, and organic molecules have also been detected on Enceladus. These are some of the most basic requirements for the existence of life on the moon.

Mars spots amaze: - Unusual

Mars spots amaze: – Unusual

Incredible performance

Data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft indicate that Enceladus has a liquid ocean under its icy crust. Fountains of water and ice were found rising from the surface.

Cold test: Two EELS team members take measurements before the python robot's first night on ice.  Image: NASA/JPL-CalTech

Cold test: Two EELS team members take measurements before the python robot’s first night on ice. Image: NASA/JPL-CalTech
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According to NASA, this is likely to be the shortest path to discovering a habitable liquid ocean on the icy moon.

Discovering potential life would be an amazing feat. That could mean we’re not alone, JPL researcher Matthew Robinson says in a comment to StudyFinds.

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