Is somebody out there?

Did you ever look up into the nightsky, watching the stars and thinking about life on other planets or solar systems? What could it look like? How could we communicate?

These are some of the questions astronoms are trying to answer for hundreds of years. Until now, they weren’t successful…

But there are chances to find marks of extraterrestrial life in our own solar system. One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, mostly consists out of ice. Under its icy surface, scientists presume an ocean. In there, we probably can find evidence for life.

But how can we reach this ocean? Obviously, it’s no problem to reach Enceladus, as a couple of missions proof. Cassini for example flew to saturn and separated Huygens, which landed on Titan on 14.01.2005. But when we are there, how can we get through the ice?

Of course, we need to melt our way through it. So far, there haven’t been any experiments dealing with melting through ice in vacuum and under microgravity conditions. As FH Aachen already has a working icemole (a robot that can melt through the ice), we want to add some space related knowledge that could lead into a future mission to the ocean of Enceladus. One of these projects, DiMIce, is currently dealing with the situation on Enceladus. Please find more information about that here.

Cassini, Saturn and Enceladus | Quelle: Flickr, Kevin Gill

Enceladus | Quelle: Flickr, Stuart Rankin