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August 17-23, 2015 / Vol 34, No 33 / Hawai`i Island, USA

14 Aug 2015, 20:10 UTC
August 17-23, 2015 / Vol 34, No 33 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Antarctica as Proving Ground for Space Exploration Technologies

Stone Aerospace advance team for the Autonomous Rover/airborne-radar Transects of the Environment beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf (ARTEMIS) is schedule to reach Antarctica August 22 to set up a test lab. The main team will arrive with ARTEMIS at the end of September, just ahead of the southern hemisphere Spring season. It is designed to evaluate technologies and techniques for independent exploration of vast underground water systems. ARTEMIS will be consolidated into a project called Sub-glacial Polar Ice Navigation, Descent, and Lake Exploration (SPINDLE), along with other elements including a cryobot transport system to tunnel through thick surface ice and a number of small, disposable “marsupial robots”, designed to collect samples from hazardous areas and bring them back to the main AUV. Bill Stone, of Stone Aerospace, indicates that SPINDLE development and field-testing in Antarctic subglacial lakes is done in preparation for exploration at locations of highest interest in the search for life across the Solar System, such as Europa, Enceladus and Ganymede. The International Council for Science division known as the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) just held the 3rd workshop of the Astronomy and Astrophysics from Antarctica research program ...

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