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Compact, Robust Pump for Deep Subsurface Ice Penetration
Phone: (603) 643-3800
Phone: (603) 640-2317
NASA is actively considering surface missions to explore planetary bodies that may harbor liquid oceans, such as Europa and Enceladus. While these moons outwardly present an icy surface, scientists believe tidal activity driven by their respective host planets may drive thermal activity beneath, sustaining warm bodies of water that could potentially provide conditions favorable for life. Robotic penetration technologies are needed to drive through the ice layer, enabling access to subsurface oceans for exploration. A leading approach to drilling surface ice for remote space missions involves use of a robotic melt-probe that would use residual heat from its radioisotope source to supply a warm water jet to accelerate the descent. A critical need for this type of system is a water jet pump that can operate in the extreme inhospitable environment of a deep subsurface ice, while reliably delivering melted ice to the jet nozzle for a long endurance, persistent drilling activity. To meet this need, Creare proposes to develop a robust, miniature, high speed water jet pump, designed for very long service life with limited sensitivity to inlet debris present in the ice-melt. The proposed pump directly enables needs requested by NASA 2020 Topic S4.02: Ice penetration technologies reaching more than 1 km in depth and enabling access to subsurface oceans.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *