The plan, nicknamed “tunnelbot”, would offer an opportunity to delve deep beneath the distant world of Jupiter’s moon Europa and check whether there are aliens hiding beneath its surface, as some researchers suspect.
The water hidden beneath Europa is considered one of the most promising places to find alien life in our own solar system. But it is stuck beneath a crust of ice, making it difficult to explore directly.
Now scientists have suggested that they could send the drill to dig into that crust and explore to try and find extraterrestrial life.
“We have performed a concept study for a nuclear powered tunneling probe (a tunnelbot) that can traverse through the ice shell and reach the ocean, carrying a payload that can search for nested, corroborative evidence for extant/extinct life,” the researchers wrote in a proposal given at the 2018 meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “The tunnelbot would also assess the habitability of the ice shell and underlying ocean.”