Feb. 8, 2008 MEDIA ADVISORY : M08-025 WASHINGTON - Researchers will test a NASA-funded robotic probe under ice here on Earth to demonstrate whether the probe’s systems can operate in a similar environment on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Testing will take place Feb. 12-15 in Lake Mendota on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The Environmentally Non-Disturbing Under-ice Robotic Antarctic Explorer is a $2.3 million project funded by NASA’s Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets Program. The probe is an autonomous underwater vehicle designed to swim untethered under ice, creating three-dimensional maps of underwater environments. The probe also will collect data on conditions in those environments and take samples of microbial life. Researchers then plan to ship the probe to a permanently frozen lake in Antarctica for operations later this year.
Science teams are developing and testing the technology for a possible underwater exploration mission on Europa far in the future. The probe is a follow-up to the Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer, a NASA-funded project that completed a series of underwater field tests in Mexico in 2007.
For additional information or to view the demonstration, contact Terry Devitt with the University of Wisconsin at 608-262-8282.
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov
University of Wisconsin, Madison