Exploring a distant moon usually means crushing it around its unimaginable surface, but with icy ocean months like Saturn's Enceladus, it might be better to come to things from the bottom to the top. This soon-to-be-tested rover in Antarctica could one day roll beneath a mile-thick ice crust in the ocean of a strange world.
It is thought that these oceanic months may be the most likely to find signs of past or present life. But exploring them is not an easy task.
Not much is known about these months, and the missions we planned were very much for surface investigation, not penetrating their deepest secrets. But if we knew what was going on under the ice (water or otherwise) we would need something that could survive and move there.
The Buoyant Rover for Under Ice Exploration, or BRUIE, is a robot research platform under development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. It sounds like an industrial power hoverboard (remember those?), And as you can guess from its name, it plunges around the ice upside down by making its own impressive enough to give the wheels its traction.
"We've found that life often lives on interfaces, both underwater and at the top of the ice-water interface. Most submissions have a challenging time exploring the area." this is because ocean currents can cause them to crash, or they are wasting too much energy maintaining position, ”BRUIE chief engineer Andy Klesh explained in a JPL blog post
Unlike ordinary submissions, though, this one can stay in place and temporarily shut down while maintaining its position, only waking up to take measurements. That may extend its operating duration.  While the San Fernando Valley is a great analog for many dusty, volatile extraterrestrial environments, it does not have anything like an ocean encrusted by the sea to try. So not the group went to Antarctica.
The project has been in development since 2012, and has been tested in Alaska (pictured above) and the Arctic. But the Antarctic is the perfect place to try expanded expansion – ultimately up to the moon each time. Try out where the sea ice retreats within a few miles of the pole.
Examination of potential scientific instruments is in order, because in a situation where we are looking for signs of life, accuracy and accuracy are of utmost importance. .
JPL's techs will be supported by the Australian Antarctic Program, which maintains the Casey station, where the mission is based.