Thursday , May 6 2021

NASA nuclear power plants 'tunnels' to look for life under Europe's ice

Europe can be the most likely place for alien life. Below it is a salty ocean that warms the gravity of the moon with a metallic core. But how can you compare the archer through?

Move your way down, with a nuclear robot.

At least this is a proposal for the American Geophysics Union meeting in Washington DC this week.

NASA's Glenn Research Center's multidisciplinary COMPASS team was set up to develop technology to solve the challenges of space research.

Europe is big.

Jupiter's ice cover this month may be between 2 and 30 km thick.

But there can be life below.

And finding it opens up to us an idea of ​​how universal life is in our universe, how flexible it is – and how it is born.


Planetary scientists are not even sure that Europe has an ocean. But all the signs show it to be. The most attractive are the amounts of liquid-water that sometimes burst from the surface.

The COMPASS team has prepared a concept study of technologies that can pierce through ice sensors and send data back to Earth.

The best option, they claim, is a nuclear "tunnelbot".

Nuclear forces the most energy in a small space.

And you do not even have to build a nuclear reactor – even though it was one of the concept plans. In their simplest form, the radioactive "bricks" simply radiate the heat source in front of a tubular probe, which then gradually becomes absorbed when the ice falls under the ice.

The magnitude of such nuclear fuel cells has been demonstrated by the Voyager 1 and 2 love forces that continue to transmit signals when they cross the interstellar space for about 40 years after their launch.


The "tunnelbots" of nuclear power plants would set up the descent of the fiber optic series "repeaters" when they sink.

Such an Europa tunnel would be relatively large. And risky launch.

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"We were not worried about how we felt it would make it to the Eurovision or to get on ice," says Assistant Professor Andrew Dombard, Chicago, University of Illinois University. "We just expected it to get there and focus on how it would work when it landed on the sea."

What is their purpose? Whether this kind of "tunnelbot" is built and put into operation is the next step. The decision, however, is based on thorough research into what should be done in order to leave Europe.

Sending Probes to Europe is one of NASA's major goals for the coming decades. But the success of broadcaster's increasingly skeptical congress in the United States may not be easy.


The project's principal representative was Texas Republican John Culberson, who chaired the NASA Subcommittee on Resources. The NASA study, which produced a nuclear "tunnelbot", is a result of his efforts.

But he lost his place during the recent mid-term elections.

RELATED: NASA's plan to protect the globe-plagued asteroid

About President Donald Trump's latest budget, he is not going to fund the Europa settlers.

Some experts express the fear that such a company would be "too far away": we simply do not know enough about the moonlight yet.

"It's a mission that came from the congress instead of coming from science," notes Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla.

Others argue that such ambitious tasks last long, now is the time to start the project.

And we've come to know the mysterious moon anyway.

The Europa Clipper office – a space sensor designed to rotate the moon – has received initial funding. Its aim is to circle up to 25 miles for a maximum of three years, mapping the European icy surface and collecting what it can cut off chemicals.

I hope Clipper is ready to launch in 2022. It takes six years to get the probe to reach Jupiter and end up in orbit around Europe.


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