Science

NASA's laser-powered drilling robot can search for life on Jupiter's ice moon (video)

Europa
Image Credit: UT Austin

While NASA is constantly thinking of ways to discover life beyond our solar system, there’s plenty of reason to believe we might not need to look that far.

One of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, is covered with a thick sheet of ice, and could be made up primarily of water. And since most large planetary bodies have molten cores, this means liquid water might occur below that think sheet of ice. A team of NASA researchers in Alaska is currently testing a laser-powered drill that might help us discover if anything is swimming within those waters.

The research team is testing out the high-powered laser drill on the Matanuska glacier in Alaska to determine how it will actually work if sent to Europa. And as for a mission, President Obama has earmarked $15 million within NASA’s budget specifically for exploration of Europa, so it might not be long before more concrete plans are underway.

Check out the video embedded below from NewScientist for a closer look at the laser-powered robot drill in action.