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Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Terry Devitt
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Feb. 8, 2008
NASA-Funded Robot to Test Space Exploration Capabilities
WASHINGTON - Researchers will test a NASA-funded robotic probe under ice here on Earth to demonstrate whether the probe's systems can operate in a similar environment on Jupiter's moon Europa. Testing will take place Feb. 12-15 in Lake Mendota on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The Environmentally Non-Disturbing Under-ice Robotic Antarctic Explorer is a $2.3 million project funded by NASA's Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets Program. The probe is an autonomous underwater vehicle designed to swim untethered under ice, creating three-dimensional maps of underwater environments. The probe also will collect data on conditions in those environments and take samples of microbial life. Researchers then plan to ship the probe to a permanently frozen lake in Antarctica for operations later this year.

Science teams are developing and testing the technology for a possible underwater exploration mission on Europa far in the future. The probe is a follow-up to the Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer, a NASA-funded project that completed a series of underwater field tests in Mexico in 2007.

For additional information or to view the demonstration, contact Terry Devitt with the University of Wisconsin at 608-262-8282.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

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