Surviving in ocean worlds: experimental characterization of fiber optic tethers across Europa-like ice faults and unraveling the sliding behavior of ice

dc.contributor.author Singh, Vishaal
dc.contributor.author McCarthy, Christine
dc.contributor.author Silvia, Matthew
dc.contributor.author Jakuba, Michael V.
dc.contributor.author Craft, Kathleen L.
dc.contributor.author Rhoden, Alyssa R.
dc.contributor.author German, Chris
dc.contributor.author Koczynski, Theodore A.
dc.date.accessioned 2023-08-09T19:31:56Z
dc.date.available 2023-08-09T19:31:56Z
dc.date.issued 2023-01-09
dc.description © The Author(s), 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Singh, V., McCarthy, C., Silvia, M., Jakuba, M., Craft, K., Rhoden, A., German, C., & Koczynski, T. Surviving in Ocean Worlds: experimental characterization of fiber optic tethers across Europa-like ice faults and unraveling the sliding behavior of ice. The Planetary Science Journal, 4(1), (2023):1, https://doi.org/10.3847/psj/aca3ab.
dc.description.abstract As an initial step toward in situ exploration of the interiors of Ocean Worlds to search for life using cryobot architectures, we test how various communication tethers behave under potential Europa-like stress conditions. By freezing two types of pretensioned insulated fiber optic cables inside ice blocks, we simulate tethers being refrozen in a probe’s wake as it traverses through an Ocean World’s ice shell. Using a cryogenic biaxial apparatus, we simulate shear motion on preexisting faults at various velocities and temperatures. These shear tests are used to evaluate the mechanical behavior of ice, characterize the behavior of communication tethers, and explore their limitations for deployment by a melt probe. We determine (a) the maximum shear stress tethers can sustain from an ice fault, prior to failure (viable/unviable regimes for deployment), and (b) optical tether performance for communications. We find that these tethers are fairly robust across a range of temperature and velocity conditions expected on Europa ( T = 95–260 K, velocity = 5 × 10 −7 m s −1 to 3 × 10 −4 m s −1 ). However, damage to the outer jackets of the tethers and stretching of inner fibers at the coldest temperatures tested both indicate a need for further tether prototype development. Overall, these studies constrain the behavior of optical tethers for use at Ocean Worlds, improve the ability to probe thermomechanical properties of dynamic ice shells likely to be encountered by landed missions, and guide future technology development for accessing the interiors of (potentially habitable ± inhabited) Ocean Worlds.
dc.description.sponsorship The authors would like to acknowledge funding from the NASA Scientific Exploration Subsurface Access Mechanism for Europa (SESAME) (80NSSC19K0613) and COLDTech: Autonomy, Communications, and Radiation-Hard Devices (80NSSC21K0995) and technology development opportunities at Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University for this work.
dc.identifier.citation Singh, V., McCarthy, C., Silvia, M., Jakuba, M., Craft, K., Rhoden, A., German, C., & Koczynski, T. (2023). Surviving in Ocean Worlds: experimental characterization of fiber optic tethers across Europa-like ice faults and unraveling the sliding behavior of ice. The Planetary Science Journal, 4(1), 1.
dc.identifier.doi 10.3847/psj/aca3ab
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1912/66718
dc.publisher IOP Publishing
dc.relation.uri https://doi.org/10.3847/psj/aca3ab
dc.rights Attribution 4.0 International *
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ *
dc.title Surviving in ocean worlds: experimental characterization of fiber optic tethers across Europa-like ice faults and unraveling the sliding behavior of ice
dc.type Article
dspace.entity.type Publication
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