Robotic eel to fly to Jupiter

Published on May 11, 2015 11:03:03 AM
To explore the icy waters of Jupiter’s moon Europa, NASA is planning a "robotic eel” that will derive energy from the local magnetic fields.

As a part of Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) programme by NASA, the soft-robotic amphibious rover will resemble an eel or a squid.

An innovative technology will be provided to the robot so that it can power itself, as usage of solar panels can prove unreliable. An antenna is provided which derives electrical charges from locally changing magnetic fields.

The US space agency said in a statement, "The long-term goal is to explore gas-giant moons like Europa, particularly in aquatic regions where conventional power systems would prove woefully inadequate."

As a part of NIAC programme, the space agency came up with a 15 different proposals, each of which will receive a $100,000 grant that allow awardees to conduct a nine-month long study to define and begin developing their concepts.

After the successful first phase, they can apply for the second phase of the programme that gets $500,000 funding for the next two years of development.

In the beginning of this year, the space agency examined a concept of sending a submarine drone to explore the icy methane seas of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

Due to the huge distance between Earth and Titan, the drone is supposed to be largely autonomous.

The programme funds concepts that comprise the potential to transform future missions by enabling new capabilities and even provides to significantly alter the present approaches to launching, building and operating aerospace systems.