Space penetrator passes test on ice

Last Updated: Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 14:31

London: Engineers in the UK have finished testing a projectile technology which they believe could be used to explore the Solar System.

The steel penetrator was fired at a 10-tonne cube of ice to simulate the surface of Jupiter`s moon Europa.

It hit the block at a speed of 340m/s and decelerated rapidly, but its structure remained intact, as did its interior components, the BBC reported.

Researchers said that the penetrator would be a robust and inexpensive way to land instruments on other worlds.

These might be seismometers to study the interior of Mars, or a miniature organic chemistry laboratory to check for microbial activity on icy Jovian satellites.

Scientists envisage several penetrators being deployed at once, carrying perhaps a network of sensors to widely separated locations in the sub-surface.

Being able to get just a few metres down is key, because if life exists anywhere else in the Solar System, it is likely to be buried away from harsh space radiation.

ANI




comments powered by Disqus