Robot looking for life in ice Lake Europe

A robot doing the research into possible life in the water under the ice pack kilometer of the Jupiter moon Europa. The German Institute for artificial intelligence presented the design of the so-called Europe Explorer Eurex.

ice Lake Europe

Europe is one of the larger moons of Jupiter with a diameter of 2100 km, slightly smaller than the Earth (read more about Europe). The average temperature is 150°c, and the surface consists of a kilometer ice pack. The suspicion is that under that layer of ice water, and where water is would also be life.

The German Research Institute for artificial intelligent now has a robot-concept presented that the search for that life.

ice Lake Europe s

A first requirement is that the robot can carry out fully autonomous research. Control of the Earth is impossible, because a radio signal from Earth 33 to 53 minutes to reach the 600 million km removed celestial body.

The robot consists of two components: the shuttle Teredo is the underwater robot ling.

The 7 m long Teredo’s role is his way through the miles of ice pack. He does that by at its head the ice to melt away. He has once the water reaches, then he stuck to the ice and let go he first four so-called micro floaters. This will confirm to the ice, as far as possible from each other and from the Teredo, and serve as navigation beacons for the underwater robot ling, who then leaves the ijsshuttle.

Black smokers

The bottom of the underground oceans of Europe is considered to be one of the most probable locations of extraterrestrial life. At least, on the places where hydrothermal sources of volcanic origin. These so-called black smokers spew sulfur and metals from. Combined with the higher temperature of the water supplies that conditions on where life can arise.


Travel to the bottom is for an underwater robot not complex, but Ling must ultimately back the shuttle Teredo. He is equipped with an ingenious navigation system.

broadcasted sound signal

Once in the water Orient Ling themselves first with acoustic signals as compared to the four micro floaters. He goes they all along, make a note of their coordinates, and then from the difference of entry of the broadcasted sound signal its position.

shuttle Teredo 1

At larger distances, the ijsshuttle Teredo as beacon, that then a very strong sound signal. After his quest, back on the shuttle used to attach Ling the camera that he already has on board.

During his trip on the soil of Europe’s sea are watching robot Ling of the seabed with hogeresolutiecamera’s. Once back at shuttle Teredo he wears are images concerning, and the Teredeo transmits the information then by the 600 million km space back to Earth.

Competition is still running

shuttle Teredo

Or the ever so far will come when the system actually Europe will explore is not yet certain. There are two space missions to the celestial body on the program: the Juice project (Jupiter Ice) of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Europa Clipper of the American sister organization NASA.

Both missions serve among other things to prepare an actual landing on the Jupiter moon sometime in the next decade, some research to the water under the ice pack. Also other institutions working on the development of reconnaissance robots, so it is not sure that the choice falls on those of the German Institute.


Eurex has been extensively tested in tanks, and was there an ice pack of 60 cm. It went on that tests the reliability of the navigation system. Trials in the polar ice of the Earth are on the program, which on the South Pole also tests will be done to large water oceans under the ice sheet. For Eurex is there so anyway work to be done.

Robot are looking for life in ice Lake Europe 1