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Miniaturized submersible for exploration of aqueous environments on Earth and beyond
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Microsystems Technology. (ÅSTC)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Microsystems Technology. (ÅSTC)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Microsystems Technology. (ÅSTC)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Microsystems Technology. (ÅSTC)
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2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Some of the most likely environments to support extraterrestrial life in our solar system are the ice-covered moons, suchas Europa, thought to harbor a liquid ocean underneath its frozen crust. Exploration, however, necessitates an ice-penetratingcryobot, or a long and narrow borehole, and the subsequent deployment of a small submersible, a hydrobot, with severe sizerestrictions imposed on its scientific payload. As a stepping stone for exploration of such environments, a small instrumentladenedsubmersible vehicle is currently under development.Employment of a large set of instruments capable of characterizing the aqueous environment, imaging the surroundingsand collecting microorganisms is essential for the determination of habitability. Despite the submersible being only 20 cm inlength and 5 cm in diameter, a high degree of functionality is facilitated here through the use of miniaturization technologies. Forinstance, a compact laser-illuminated diffractive optical element, paired with a high-resolution camera, enable photogrammetryand the reconstruction of objects’ shapes in 3-D space. Also for imaging, the world’s smallest side-scanning sonar has beendeveloped to acoustically image, either where water is too turbid for the camera, or where longer range is necessary. Currently,the sonar exhibits centimeter resolution and ranges over 30 meters. On the sensor side, a most vital oceanographic instrument, theCTD, used to measure the conductivity, temperature, and depth of water, has been heavily miniaturized and preliminaryevaluated. Additionally, a water sampler combining integrated selection and enriching capabilities to filter out and accommodate,e.g., microbes in the size range of 1-10 μm, is under development. Among other parts, its high-pressure valves and microfluidicacoustic traps have already been realized.For remote operation and upload of measurement data or images, or even live streaming of video, the submersible will betethered with a bi-directionally transmitting fiber optic cable, also capable of charging the onboard batteries for long missions.The one kilometer long fiber will be fitted within the hull, and by reeling out the fiber from the submersible, drag will be reduced.Herein, test results and images of the vehicle and its complete, and continuously developed, subsystems are presented.The vehicle, and its subsystems as stand-alone instruments, will enable the exploration of previously unreachable analogenvironments on Earth, vital to the field of astrobiology, and act as a forerunner to a submersible hydrobot that can explore icecoveredoceans elsewhere in our solar system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
submersible, MEMS, MST, miniaturized, micro, subglacial lake, laser, sonar, side-scan, microbe sampler, CTD, flow sensor, fiber optic
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in Microsystems Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-163771OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-163771DiVA: diva2:464820
Conference
International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2011, Cape Town, South Africa, 3-7 October 2011
Projects
DADU
Available from: 2011-12-19 Created: 2011-12-14 Last updated: 2016-04-20Bibliographically approved

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http://iac2011.com/

Authority records BETA

Jonsson, JonasSundqvist, JohanNguyen, HugoKratz, HenrikBerglund, MartinOgden, SamPalmer, KristofferWagner, SvenHjort, KlasThornell, Greger

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Jonsson, JonasSundqvist, JohanNguyen, HugoKratz, HenrikBerglund, MartinOgden, SamPalmer, KristofferWagner, SvenHjort, KlasThornell, Greger
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Microsystems Technology
Engineering and Technology

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