NASA told about the testing of space ice screws
Engineers from the jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA has developed and tested several prototypes of devices designed to study ice on the surface of other celestial bodies. this was reported on the website NASA.
The surface of some celestial bodies partially or fully can be covered with ice. Samples of the ice and drilling a poor fit for traditional fixtures, designed for hard rocks, so NASA engineers are developing prototypes of various instruments adapted for the ice. It is expected that in the future such instruments can help in the study of Titan, Europa, and Enceladus.
As a tool for drilling deep wells JPL engineers propose to use a ice probe with a circular saw and a plutonium heat source.
The saw blade will turn slowly, vicesima ice and throwing ice chips in the probe housing, and a heat source to melt the incoming ice and revive him.
Such a probe, according to developers, will be able to take in ice for a few miles, and the samples from the melted liquid and the liquid from the ice will be sent to the surface using a pneumatic delivery system capsules.
Samples on surfaces that are far away from the lander at JPL propose two possible solutions: to use folding positioners up to 10 meters or, if necessary, take a sample from a greater distance, to shoot a special bound projectile that can fly at a distance up to 50 meters. Directly the material from the surface would be expected to be using the prototype claw with heating elements that are immersed in ice and provide a solid fixation of the drill.
Currently developed prototypes passed only the first test. In the future, NASA will review its effectiveness and decide whether further refinement and testing. If so, perhaps technology is based on prototypes developed can be used in future research and Agency missions on the surface of other heavenly planets.
Enceladus one of the most interesting “ice worlds” to explore. The fact is that according to the latest layer of ice is relatively thin — using information collected by the probe “Cassini”, researchers have determined that in some areas, the ice thickness can be about two kilometers. Beneath the ice the ocean of Enceladus liquid and relatively warm and, therefore, are the key ingredients for the emergence of primitive life forms. Heating of the ocean, according to the models, it is due to the tidal forces of Saturn.