Enceladus-Explorer-Initiative: Testing at Langenferner glacier successfully completed

Researchers of the Enceladus-Explorer-Initiative (EnEx) conducted a first glacier test in late summer on the small valley glacier Langenferner at Santa Caterina Valfurva in Italy. The aim of the EnEx-Initative, originally launched by the DLR Space Administration, is the preparation of a space mission for searching extraterrestrial life on the Saturn moon Enceladus. A navigable probe is developed to detect, drill, take liquid probes and analyze these. Within the EnEx-Initiative, new basic technologies for the navigation in ice environments for this mission scenario are implemented. In 2016 an exploration by the RWTH Aachen University showed that the environment of the high alpine cottage Refugio Casati at the Langenferner glacier is an ideal location for the terrestrial testing of the developed navigation systems. This year, more than 20 scientists gathered for an intensive three-week field test, which was coordinated by the RWTH Aachen University. Other partners in the project are the FH Aachen, TU Braunschweig, University of Bremen and the company GSI Systems. As outcome, a large amount of data has been collected and is now to be analyzed and evaluated. Next year another visit at the glacier is planned to test the developed systems in a final approach.

The EnEx-RANGE-Project is an interdisciplinary cooperation of the III. Institute of Physics B, Prof. Dr. Christopher Wiebusch, and the Cybernetics Lab IMA/ZLW & IfU, Prof. Dr. Sabina Jeschke. The Physicians develop acoustic-sonographic systems for apron imaging and investigate the acoustic localization with probes of a sensor network. The engineering group explores the application of autonomous strategies of robotics for an ideal arrangement of this sensor network. The EnEx-DiMIce-Project, which stands under the direction of Dr. Julia Kowalski, AICES, models the melting process of probes in the ice.

For further information, please contact Sebastian Schönitz M. Sc.