NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is testing a snake robot that is planned to be sent to Saturn’s moon Enceladus to search for extraterrestrial life, writes TechCrunch.

The 4.4-meter-long robot is called the Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS) and weighs 100 kg. The system is currently being tested on Earth in conditions designed to mimic the satellite’s landscape.

Робот-змій NASA

The goal of EELS will be to, among other things, study objects under the satellite’s surface. Potentially, these are water bodies – their study should answer the question of the existence of life on Enceladus.

“It is designed to be adaptable to traverse ocean world–inspired terrain, fluidized media, enclosed labyrinthian environments, and liquids,” the researchers shared in an article for the journal Science Robotics.

The snake robot is equipped with risk-based planning systems, situational awareness, and is able to move autonomously without human control.

Робот-змій NASA

As you know, Enceladus is the most geologically active moon of Saturn. It may have water volcanoes: they renew the frost on the surface and serve as a source of matter for the sparse dust ring along Enceladus’ orbit. However, the energy source of volcanic and geological activity is still unknown.