Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

UNM May Aid in Search For Life on Jovian Moon.(Metro & New Mexico)

Byline: John Fleck Journal Staff Writer

Mohamed El-Genk wants to help NASA build a robotic burrowing ice-mole.

Using heat from a radioactive battery, it would burrow straight down through miles of ice covering the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, seeking signs of life.

To pull off the trick, NASA needs better radioactive batteries, which is why it has turned to El-Genk's Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies at the University of New Mexico.

It will be a decade, if ever, before El-Genk's new battery makes the trip to Europa.

The UNM team's radioactive battery is one of several designs in development, and even if the development work succeeds, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has yet to approve the mission. …

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