Developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration, is under tests at the California Science Center.
Images credit NASA/JPL-Caltech
At the bottom of the California Science Center, in Los Angeles, 188,000-gallon aquatic tank, from June 22 to 24, 2015, scientists will test the silver body of the under-ice rover.
The rover’s presence 24 feet (7.3 meters) underwater at the science center this week helped researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, test the innovative rover’s systems. On Monday, the visitors’ guide to the rover and the fish around it was Andy Klesh, principal investigator for the rover at JPL and volunteer diver at the science center.
Researchers tested an under-ice rover’s systems at the bottom of a large aquatic exhibit at the California Science Center. Principal investigator Andy Klesh is also a volunteer diver at the science center.
As bubbles flowed from his face mask, Klesh explained that the buoyant rover can be used here on Earth to study the Arctic and Antarctic. Researchers also envision that a technology like this could one day explore icy bodies in the solar system, and even look for signs of habitability and life.
“A lot of what we do in deep space is applicable to the ocean,” Klesh said. “This is an early prototype for vehicles that could one day go to Europa and other planetary bodies with a liquid ocean covered by ice. It’s ideal for traveling under the ice shelf of an icy world.”