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NASA's new rover could explore frozen water in space

NASA's new rover could explore frozen water in space

The prototype for a new NASA rover is being tested for underwater space exploration.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's engineers have created a robot that can explore space's icy waters, such as those on Jupiter's moon Europa. The Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration (BRUIE), the first rover that can explore underwater, is controlled via a satellite link and clings to the bottom of ice with metal tires, transmitting information back to scientists to determine whether the waters host life forms.

The BRUIE is currently being tested in Alaska, which in turn is helping scientists study the Earth's seas, measuring their temperature and salt content. While the rover was designed for space exploration, exploring Earth is just as vital a task — scientists have only explored five percent of the Earth's ocean.

It's likely the rover won't launch into space for several decades, Engadget reports, but in the meantime, you can watch the BRUIE in action in the National Geographic video below. --Meghan DeMaria