They want to send "computer microprobe" to Europe
The NASA Innovation Concepts Funding Fund has allocated a grant of $ 100 thousand to the research company Draper Laboratory, which has proposed the technology of sensing distant planets and their satellites using tens or hundreds of probe microcircuits (ChipSat), each no larger than a coin.
The first goal to test the new technology may be Europe - the satellite of Jupiter, where it is assumed the presence of liquid water.
A small spacecraft weighing only a few kilograms performs sounding in two stages. At the first stage, he draws up a gravity map to determine the estimated locations of underground water reservoirs.
Then the second stage begins. Satellite chips (ChipSat) are reset to the selected area. They will be able to overcome the delicate atmosphere of Europe without damage.
The developers believe that part of the microprobe will be damaged in the fall, but most will be able to function normally. After planting, they begin to work and collect information about the composition of the soil. The collected data is sent back to the mother ship, and he transmits them to Earth.