By Peter Kimball
ARTEMIS is a robot - a testbed for life-search technologies. We're developing these technologies to search for life in the liquid oceans beneath the frozen crusts of icy moons in our solar system. The ocean beneath the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica is an excellent icy moon analog environment where we can deploy ARTEMIS to test life-search technologies and learn some things about our home planet while we're at it.
ARTEMIS is designed and built by Stone Aerospace specifically to explore the environment beneath the Ross Ice Shelf. She has a range of 20 km, carries an on-board water sample collection system plus a broad suite of scientific sensors, and features the ability to hover precisely, bringing scientific equipment into contact with the ice ceiling overhead.
It's one thing to cheerfully list off the designed capabilities of a robot. It's quite another to actually build, deploy, and recover such a robot - especially in ice-covered antarctic waters. This blog will follow the field team as we head to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, send ARTEMIS beneath the ice for the first time, and work towards bringing back valuable scientific data from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf.