A large amount of data recovered in recent years infers that some of the objects present within our solar system, among which we can count the moons Europa and Enceladus, are ocean worlds. Some of these oceans could host life, even if it did not look like the life forms that are present here on Earth.
Astronomers plan to harness the power of rovers to explore this type of world and uncover some of the secrets. Before this can happen engineers need to design a suitable rover that can withstand the harsh conditions of a frozen alien ocean.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on such a rover, which is known under the name of Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration (also called BRUIE). The rover will undergo a harsh test as it will operate will be turned upside down for over a month in the sea ice of Antarctica.
An underwater rover could allow researchers to explore water worlds
Antarctica is a great test environment that mimics some of the conditions that could be encountered in actual ocean worlds. At this point, it is worth mentioning that the oceans present on Europa and Enceladus are shielded but thick layers of ice that range between 6 to 12 miles.
Two years ago, NASA stated that these ocean worlds could be the best environments for life in our solar system. After we can reach the target location all that there is to do is to use the tools to try and detect traces of life. It is possible that some life forms will not be visible at first since their DNA structure could be different, especially microbes.
The ice layers that cover our polar oceans can contribute to the formation and well-being of life forms, with the researchers being very interested in the zone where ice and water meet. BRUIE will be able to collect images and other data that can be sent to Earth.