Scientists test the EELS robot on snowy surfaces on Earth. (Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is working on a brand-new robot to explore other planets and their moons.

It won’t drive around on wheels like other rovers. Instead, it will slither like a snake. It has a snaky nickname, too – EELS.

EELS wasn’t created for any particular space mission. So what inspired JPL to design it? It started with a question, says Morgan Cable, the science lead for the project.