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NASA builds a “snake robot” to search for life in the icy oceans of Saturn's moon

NASA builds a “snake robot” to search for life in the icy oceans of Saturn's moon

The snake robot form has been around for decades. In addition to the versatility it adds to the world of automation, the design has many interesting features. Now, NASA is exploring ways to use it to search for life on Saturn's moon.

Features of this snake robot

The first advantage is redundancy, which allows the system to continue working even if the unit is damaged. The second is the body that allows the system Navigating in tight spaces. This property makes snake robots an interesting complement to rescue teams, as the systems can enter places where people and other robots cannot.

Other applications include plumbing and even medicine, with smaller versions that can move around pipes and human organs, respectively. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, never shy about futuristic robotic applications, has been exploring ways to use them Robust form factor for the search for extraterrestrial life.

As often happens with these types of stories, it's still in its early stages. Currently, tests are being conducted in terrestrial landscapes designed to mimic what these systems might encounter. That means a lot of ice, as NASA researchers plan to send it To Saturn's small, cold moon Enceladus.

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It could answer one of the biggest questions in the universe

The 21st century Cassini mission revealed an environment rich in water, making the ice-covered moon a potential candidate for life in our solar system. The final plan is to use the snake robot, Exobiology surveys existing life (EELS), to explore the oceans beneath the moon's crust Finally answer one of the universe's great open questions.

It's designed to be adaptable to traverse ocean-inspired terrain, fluid environments, closed maze environments and fluids.

Write the team behind the investigation into A condition Published in this month's Science Robotics magazine.

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For the project, JPL partnered with Arizona State University, UC San Diego, and Carnegie Mellon University, the latter of which has a long history in designing snake robots. According to NASA, The system weighs 100 kg and is 4.4 meters long.

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