The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA JPL) is testing a serpentine robot that they want to send in search of life in the icy oceans of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. The Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS) snake robot can penetrate Enceladus’ ice through a narrow vent and collect fluid samples that will help answer the question of whether there is life there.

EELS is now being tested on Earth’s icy landscape, similar to the one that likely awaits a flexible explorer on Enceladus. The main purpose of EELS is to study underground and above-ground objects, assess the suitability of the environment for human life, and search for evidence of the existence of any form of life. The snake robot can navigate in liquids, rarefied environments, in the ocean, and even in mazes, or natural maze-like formations. On Enceladus, he will be able to glide through narrow geysers and sail across the vast ocean there.

The length of the snake robot is 4 meters, it consists of 10 parts, and the helical groove on the outside allows it to move forward or backward on the ice. Sensors and cameras that capture the path of EELS and help with orientation are located in the “head” of the snake. EELS is also equipped with risk-based planning systems for autonomous movement far from Earth and beyond human control.

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