NASA Funds Electricity-Harvesting Robotic Space Eel Destined to Explore Distant Planets

By: | June 5th, 2015

This squid-inspired robot, funded by NASA, is a concept which is destined to explore the seas of Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons) or other distant planetary bodies in near future.

The biggest problem for exploration on the planets farthest from the sun is that rovers and robots can’t rely fully on solar power. But this squid-like robot will have tentacle-like structures to produce power from locally changing magnetic fields.

This electrical energy will power all rover subsystems including the one that will electrolyze H2O. Electrolysis produces a mixture of H2 and O2 gas. Igniting this gas will light it off to create an explosion to propel itself. Moreover, this amazing robot will have a soft, flexible skin that doubles as a stretchable, electroluminescent display for illuminating the local marine environment to make underwater imaging possible.

If this concept eventually succeeds, it will enable exploration of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn that have liquid lakes or oceans.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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