NASA is developing a snake-like robot called the “Exobiology Existing Life Inspector” (EELS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to search for evidence of life on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons.
Enceladus’s surface is white and bright, making it the most reflective celestial body in the solar system, and its surface is extremely cold, reaching minus 201°C. NASA’s Voyager space probe detected water ice and gas rushing from the surface of Enceladus, creating a halo of fine icy dust around the moon and feeding the water sprouts.
Scientists designed the EELS to navigate all types of terrain, including deep fractures and subterranean oceans, in order to assess habitability and evidence for life on Enceladus. The robot has been tested to examine glaciers and volcanoes.
The snake-like robot is 4.9 meters long and is being developed to be capable of searching for evidence of life on Enceladus. If the robot’s goals are achieved, it could be used for the exploration of other planets. So far, NASA has not defined a launch date for the EELS, so this mission may still be a few years away.
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