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IceHive for Titan Ocean Access
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Proposal
This transformative concept targets access to Titan’s subsurface ocean. A reactor-powered 10-m tunnel boring machine pierces through the thick crust, while swarming-climbing robots transport drilling fines to the surface.
To enable their helical ascension, ‘swarmbots’ share power amongst themselves. The descending units charge those which are ascending, creating a seamless energy relay.
Through biomimicry, they ascend the borehole aided by fish bladders, and adhere to the icy borehole wall using advanced gecko-inspired dry adhesives tailored for the frigid, hard ice. During their trip, they hone the borehole surface to keep it from closing up over time.