In what could sound like a science fiction movie plot, scientists from the Planetary Habitability and Technology Lab, which is relocating from Georgia Tech to Cornell, will be conducting an under-Antarctic-ice robotic survey in February 2022.
The team will use an unmanned underwater vehicle called Icefin to explore under the ice to better understand how oceans and ice interact. The results could play a key role in understating other ice planets and moons in our solar system.
According to researcher Britney Schmidt:
“My team and I focus on how ice and oceans work across the solar system, including Earth. Particularly, we focus on Europa, the innermost icy moon of Jupiter. We’re trying to explore underwater, under ice, the hardest environment you can imagine — the most like Europa. If we want to explore Europa with an underwater probe someday, we’ve got to do it here first.”
The impressive Icefin is 13ft/~4m long and 10inch/25cm wide and is packed with a wide array of sensors and devices, including cameras, speed sensors, sonar, and other measuring and telemetry tools.