|arya||Date: Tuesday, 12-May-2015, 6:27 PM | Message # 1|
|NASA plans electrolysis-powered ROBOT EEL for Europa's oceans |
Asteroid mining and floating seismometers also win exploratory funding
Jupiter's moon Europa isn't the place for a Curiosity-style rover, since under its icy crust it may well have liquid oceans, so NASA's slung some money towards developing a robot eel concept.
The robot, funded as one of a bunch of advanced concepts to get Phase 1 funding under NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which awards US$100,000 to help researchers prepare feasibility studies for their concepts.
The “robot eel” rover, described here, is considered by its proposer, Cornell University's Mason Peck to be more like a squid:
“This rover resembles a squid, with tentacle-like structures that serve both as electrodynamic tethers to harvest power from locally changing magnetic fields and as a means of bio-inspired propulsion.”
If the tethers can harvest enough electricity, the “soft-robotic rover” would use it to power its electronics and an onboard electrolysis pack. By separating water into oxygen and hydrogen, Peck explains, you get something to burn for movement:
“Igniting this gas expands these internal chambers, causing shape change to propel the rover through fluid or perhaps along the surface of a planetary body.”
Read more/full article/source - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015....n_space