And if you think that's amazing, check out what's swimming in the waters this summer: Artemis, a more powerful underwater vehicle that can travel up to 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). The goal is not only to test out technologies for Europa, but to better understand the fragile environment of Antarctica and how best to protect it.
NEWS: NASA's Europa Mission Will Look for Life's Ingredients
Schmidt characterized the work, which is led by Georgia Tech, as key to helping with NASA's proposed Europa mission. "Personally, I'm proud to be a part of the mission team. I've helped on studies for a while, and it's just been a large group of people working for the past 20 years to get this mission going," she said.
Schmidt spoke last Tuesday (June 16) at the 2015 Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago as part of a panel discussion, which you can view in full here. Icefin and Artemis are part of a larger project called SIMPLE, or Sub Ice Marine and Planetary–analog Ecosystem, which is funded in part by the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Full disclosure: The writer for this article also writes for this NASA institution.