Future extraterrestrial rovers may be powered remotely by high-energy laser beams shot through miles of thin fiber-optic cables. This new technology could allow robotic probes to penetrate thick layers of ice to explore Antarctic lakes or the subterranean oceans on icy moons like Europa or Enceladus, and even power a new kind of rocket into space.
“Our modest goal over the next three years is to use a 5,000-watt laser to send a cryobot through up to 250 meters of ice,” inventor and explorer Bill Stone, who presented the new concept today at NASA’s Astrobiology Science Conference in Atlanta, told Wired. “All the data show there are no show-stoppers for doing that. But from my standpoint, this is child’s play compared to what we could do.”
YES, THAT IS CHILD’S PLAY INDEED.