An Alien-Hunting Submarine Is Being Tested in Antarctica

ARTEMIS under Antarctic sea ice. Image copyright: Bill Stone/Stone Aerospace, Inc. Used with permission.
A look at the amazing photos and stunning science from the ARTEMIS mission in Antarctica.

By Daniel Oberhaus | MOTHERBOARD

When president Trump released his budget proposal earlier this year, space enthusiasts were dismayed to learn that it didn’t include funding for NASA’s mission to place a lander on Europa. Although it is just one of Jupiter’s 67 moons, Europa is unique in that it is thought to have an ocean of liquid water under the icy, red-veined crust that covers its surface, which makes it the best candidate in the solar system for hosting alien life.

But all hope is not lost for the subsurface exploration of Europa—just last week, NASA and the European Space Agency announced a joint mission proposal for a new Europa lander.

This is particularly good news for the folks at Stone Aerospace, who have spent the last few years developing ARTEMIS, an autonomous submarine that is pioneering the technology that they hope will one day be used to explore Europa’s ocean. In 2015, ARTEMIS was given its first field test off the coast of Antarctica and the results of these test runs were presented at NASA’s astrobiology conference last week. By all accounts, the mission was a huge success.

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