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43rd Carnival of Space Online

The 43rd Carnival of Space is now available on Ethan Siegel’s Starts with a Bang site, entertainingly offered in an ‘Oscar winner’ format that highlights an impressive array of contributions this week. The one I’ll send you to first from an outer planets perspective is Bruce Irving’s story on Music of the Spheres about robotic operations in extreme environments. Think Antarctica for upcoming tests, and Europa for long-term uses of this promising technology. The helpful video that accompanies the piece features Bill Stone (Stone Aerospace), whose underwater vehicle Endurance is now undergoing tests in Wisconsin.

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  • James M. Essig March 3, 2008, 3:41

    Hi Folks;

    Imagine melting a submersible through the European Ice and then plying the depths of the European Oceans especially with sonar and infrared cameras. Visual cameras might be useful as well, however, the high frequency optical light might be damaging to lifeforms that have evolved in darkness. Perhaps a low power visible lamp with underwater night vision equipment could work.

    This submersable might be tethered to a surface controller which may be teleoperated by Crews back here on Earth. The submersible might be powered by an oxygen/hydrogen fuel cell or some form of rechargable lithium ion battery system. Alternatively, it might be powered by an electric cable linked to a surface solar energy collecter. The solar energy collector could be a large area thin PV polymer sheet or it could be a large inflatable dish type solar energy collector which concentrates ambient solar energy several hundred to several thousand times onto a traditional solid rigid PV cell with other cells available for redundancy. Note that PV cells in the lab have achieved 34 percent conversion efficiency under about 100 Suns flux concentration on Earth.

    MITs “Technology Review” magazine reported on these experimental PV cells a few years back although I do not remember the specific issue that contained the report.

    It will be interesting to see what we discover. Even tube worms or coral like organisms would be cool.

    Thanks;

    Jim

  • andy March 3, 2008, 8:37

    Tube worms and coral are multicellular and at least have hard parts (unlike jellyfish), so would be a pretty fantastic discovery.

    Nevertheless, even an abiotic Europa would still be interesting: e.g. finding out whether the ocean floor is in a plate tectonic regime (Europa is perhaps the only other terrestrial planet in our solar system where the crust is in contact with liquid water, which is said to be essential for Earth’s plate tectonics to work).