Autonomous robot starts Mexican vacation

It may not show up on Mapquest, but NASA scientists are betting that the best route to Jupiter and its ice-crusted moon Europa runs through an underwater cavern in Mexico.

Though the space mission is probably 30 years off, the trek begins in earnest today outside the city of Tampico.

A 60-ton crane is scheduled to lower a giant orange robot dubbed “Clementine” into what is believed to be the deepest flooded sinkhole in the world.

For the next two weeks, the fully autonomous robot, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a Volkswagen Beetle, will plumb the previously inaccessible microbial mysteries of the sinkhole — or “cenote” — El Zacatón.

Source:  Washington Post


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