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Drilling in Alien Ice

Some of the most interesting places in the solar system are hidden under sheets of ice. The polar caps of Mars, Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa will require drilling of some kind to explore thoroughly.

The technology used for drilling in places like Greenland is heavy and complex, which rules it out for loading onto a probe and deploying remotely. Fortunately, a new drilling method is promising to be much less cumbersome.

The Cryobot probe was recently tested in Antarctica. It’s a “thermal drill,” which combines blades and heaters in the tip. This gives it much more flexibility in dealing with the unknown composition of alien ice sheets.

The Space.com site has more.

Posted in News, Space August 29th, 2008 by Chip
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