Instrumentation and vehicle platform of a miniaturized submersible for exploration of terrestrial and extraterrestrial aqueous environments
2012 (English)In: Acta Astronautica, ISSN 0094-5765, Vol. 79, 203-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
An example of an extraterrestrial environment likely to support life is the vast liquid body believed to hide underneath the frozen crust of Jupiter's moon Europa. The hypothetical exploration of this, as well as the more accessible subglacial lakes on Earth, has been used as model applications for the development of a heavily miniaturized, yet qualified, submersible with the potential to be deployable either in itself through a long and narrow borehole or as the daughter craft of an ice-penetrating cryobot.
Onboard the submersible, which is only 20 cm in length and 5 cm in diameter, accommodation of a versatile set of sensors and instruments capable of characterizing and imaging the surroundings, and even collecting water samples with microorganisms for return, is facilitated through the use of miniaturization technologies. For instance, together with a small camera, a laser-based, microoptic device enables the 3-D reconstruction of imaged objects for topographical measurements. As a complement, when the water is turbid or a longer range is wanted, the world's smallest side-scanning sonar, exhibiting centimeter resolution and a range of over 30 m, has been developed. The work on miniaturizing a CTD, which is a widely employed oceanographic instrument used to measure and correlate conductivity, temperature, and depth, has commenced. Furthermore, a device employing acoustics to trap microscopic particles and organisms, and, by this, enrich water samples, is under development. To ensure that the gathered samples are pristine until analyzed at the end of a mission, the device is equipped with high-pressure, latchable valves.
Remote operation and transfer of measurement data and images, or even live streaming of video, is made possible through a kilometer-long fiber optic cable being reeled out from the vehicle underway and tethering it to a terminal. To extend the missions, the same fiber shall also be capable of charging the onboard batteries.
In this paper, the vehicle and its subsystems are summarized. Subsystems essential for the vehicle's operation, e.g., hull structure, communication and power management, are treated separately from those of more mission-specific nature, like the instruments mentioned above.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 79, 203-211 p.
Submersible, Micro, Imaging, Water sampler, Subglacial, Sensor
Engineering and Technology
Research subject Engineering Science with specialization in Microsystems Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-178994DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.048ISI: 000306208400021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-178994DiVA: diva2:543274