Researchers from NASA and EVL Test Under-Ice Sub ENDURANCE

Participants: Andrew Johnson, Shriram Iyer, Peter Doran, Bill Chen (NASA Ames), Chris McKay (NASA Ames), John Priscu (Montana State Unversity), William Stone (Stone Aerospace)

Institutions: NASA

Lake Mendota, WI

Europa Here We Come: NASA Tests Under-Ice Sub with Eye Toward Jupiter - If successful at mapping lake terrain Wisconsin and Antarctica, it could be used to search for life in the ocean on Jupiter’s moon

- By Larry Greenemeier
Scientific American Online
February 14, 2008

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Researchers from NASA and the University of Illinois at Chicago atop the frozen surface of Wisconsin’s Lake Mendota this week are preparing for interplanetary exploration. Below them, under a sheet of ice more than a foot (30 centimeters) thick, the space agency’s new Environmentally Non-Disturbing Under-Ice Robotic Antarctic Explorer (ENDURANCE) maps the lake’s underwater terrain. If this and subsequent voyages are successful, a similar vessel could be sent to navigate the suspected liquid water under the frozen surface of the ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa by the year 2028.

ENDURANCE, a $2.3-million project funded by NASA’s Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) program, is an autonomous vehicle designed to operate underwater below the ice. Its mission: to gather environmental data (such as samples of microbial life) and create three-dimensional maps of undersea topography.


Date: February 14, 2008
ENDURANCE’S top shell resembles a crab, but its underbelly has a variety of sensors that measure temperature, light and water chemistry. - John Rummel, NASA

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