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Exo-Ocean Exploration with Deep-Sea Sensor and Platform Technologies

Aguzzi, J. and Flexas, M. M. and Flögel, S. and Lo Iacono, C. and Tangherlini, M. and Costa, C. and Marini, S. and Bahamon, N. and Martini, S. and Fanelli, E. and Danovaro, R. and Stefanni, S. and Thomsen, L. and Riccobene, G. and Hildebrandt, M. and Masmitja, I. and Del Rio, J. and Clark, E. B. and Branch, A. and Weiss, P. and Klesh, A. T. and Schodlok, M. P. (2020) Exo-Ocean Exploration with Deep-Sea Sensor and Platform Technologies. Astrobiology, 20 (7). pp. 897-915. ISSN 1531-1074. doi:10.1089/ast.2019.2129.

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One of Saturn's largest moons, Enceladus, possesses a vast extraterrestrial ocean (i.e., exo-ocean) that is increasingly becoming the hotspot of future research initiatives dedicated to the exploration of putative life. Here, a new bio-exploration concept design for Enceladus' exo-ocean is proposed, focusing on the potential presence of organisms across a wide range of sizes (i.e., from uni- to multicellular and animal-like), according to state-of-the-art sensor and robotic platform technologies used in terrestrial deep-sea research. In particular, we focus on combined direct and indirect life-detection capabilities, based on optoacoustic imaging and passive acoustics, as well as molecular approaches. Such biologically oriented sampling can be accompanied by concomitant geochemical and oceanographic measurements to provide data relevant to exo-ocean exploration and understanding. Finally, we describe how this multidisciplinary monitoring approach is currently enabled in terrestrial oceans through cabled (fixed) observatories and their related mobile multiparametric platforms (i.e., Autonomous Underwater and Remotely Operated Vehicles, as well as crawlers, rovers, and biomimetic robots) and how their modified design can be used for exo-ocean exploration.

Item Type:Article
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Flexas, M. M.0000-0002-0617-3004
Additional Information:© 2020 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Submitted 15 June 2019; Accepted 3 February 2020; Online Ahead of Print: April 8, 2020. This work was developed within the framework of the Tecnoterra Associate Unit (ICM-CSIC/UPC) and the following project activities: ARIM (Autonomous Robotic sea-floor Infrastructure for benthopelagic Monitoring; MartTERA ERA-Net Cofound; PIs: J.A., S.F., and L.T.), ARCHES (Autonomous Robotic Networks to Help Modern Societies; German Helmholtz Association; PI: S.F.), RESBIO (TEC2017-87861-R; Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades; PIs: J.d.R., J.A.). M.M.F.'s work was partially funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through grant number NNX15AG42G. C.L.'s work was partially funded by the H2020-EU IF Maria Sklodowska Curie “HABISS” (Project 890815). Special thanks are also due to Dr. R. Sforza and Dr. G. Flati for their inspiration and suggestions at writing, and to Mrs. V. Radovanovic for support. A portion of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Marie Curie Fellowship890815
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU)TEC2017-87861-R
Subject Keywords:Exo-ocean; Enceladus; Deep-sea technology; Autonomous underwater vehicles; Crawlers; Cryobots
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200413-095024607
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Official Citation:J. Aguzzi, M.M. Flexas, S. Flögel, C. Lo Iacono, M. Tangherlini, C. Costa, S. Marini, N. Bahamon, S. Martini, E. Fanelli, R. Danovaro, S. Stefanni, L. Thomsen, G. Riccobene, M. Hildebrandt, I. Masmitja, J. Del Rio, E.B. Clark, A. Branch, P. Weiss, A.T. Klesh, and M.P. Schodlok.Astrobiology. Jul 2020. 897-915.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102501
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Apr 2020 17:00
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:12

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