Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) maps the ocean floor

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Today the NASA-funded Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) is at the bottom of the Zacaton geothermal sinkhole in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Tomorrow it could be searching for water at the bottom of the icy crust on Europa, the moon of Jupiter. The DEPTHX has 100 sensors, 36 computers and 16 thrusters with which it can navigate and map for up to eight hours without human intervention. Plus, it looks like the kind of thing an alien species might be astounded to find in its watery backyard. [GT]

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Gabrielle Taylor