NASA Will Initiate Submarine Analog Missions for Space Projects

The exploration on Earth of hydrothermal systems of underwater volcanoes, which could resemble other oceanic worlds of the Solar System, potential candidates to support life, are the objectives of the new mission of NASA in 2018 and 2019.

SUBSEA is the name of the project that unites the ocean and space, which will look for clues about similar environments in other ocean worlds and their potential to sustain life.

The scientific group of the mission will also evaluate better ways to carry out a remote scientific mission, to speed up future explorations, this could have an impact on short-term human exploration destinations such as the Moon and Mars.

The combination of both worlds will allow experts to prepare for new types of space exploration missions by practicing under realistic conditions on Earth, NASA said.

The long-term strategy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for deep space exploration may include joint missions of robotic humans.

A possible design would involve astronauts to communicate almost instantaneously with robots that explore a surface site, such as the Moon, called low-latency teleoperation or LLT.

This team could send commands to robots instantaneously, according to the scientific orientation and direction of exploration of a group of scientists based on Earth, despite being separated by long delays in communication.

The US space agency explained that the operations of the SUBSEA are parallel to the design of the mission. The scientific field work will be carried out aboard the Nautilus ship, equipped with remote vehicles.

The underwater robots are controlled by human operators based on ships, which, in turn, receive guidance from a remote scientific team located in the US command centres of exploration.

Its focus is on three areas: scientific research, scientific operations and information technology. By 2018, SUBSEA will explore the warm springs emanating from a submarine volcano off Hawaii, called the Lō`ihi submarine mountain.

This object is a good representation of the conditions that scientists think exist in certain moons in the outer solar system, which may have combined factors to sustain life.

Such is the case of Enceladus and Europa, moons of Saturn and Jupiter, respectively, that hide oceans beneath their frozen crusts. The water that interacts with the rock on the seabed could generate reactions that would make possible the microbial metabolism.

The SUBSEA discoveries will help mission design teams develop methods to conduct science efficiently, productively and safely during low-latency telerobotic operations in deep-space environments such as Mars.

The results of the mission will expand the understanding of the potential of other ocean worlds in the solar system to house life.

NASA Will Initiate Submarine Analog Missions for Space Projects

In addition, scientists will have a better idea of how a range of water-rock reactions can affect the availability of energy sources to maintain microbial metabolism, and where they are most likely to exist, NASA said.



Source: Diario de Yucatan