Robot Bees on Red Planet
“From a systems engineering perspective, the Marsbee offers many benefits over traditional aerospace systems,” Dr Chang-kwon Kang said in a statement. “The smaller volume, designed for the interplanetary spacecraft payload configuration, provides much more flexibility. Also, the Marsbee inherently offers more robustness to individual system failures.”
NASA Plans to Put Robot Bees on Mars
Other ideas receiving NASA funding include a “flying amphibious robot” and a steam-powered jumping robot named Sparrow.
KEY POINTS ON MARSBEES
- Developed by US and Japanese scientists, the robot
- Insects will be integrated with sensors and wireless communication devices will allow them to map the terrain and scan for signs of life.
- The space agency announced the project on March 30. It’s in its early stages with swarms of sensor-studded, fast-moving micro-bots that can cover much more ground at a relatively low cost.
- The space agency says the machines, known as Marsbees, will be around the size of a bumblebee but have huge cicada-sized wings that will allow them to hover in the planet’s ultra-thin atmosphere.
- It is hoped that Marsbees will replace rovers as primary vehicles for exploration and lead to the more detailed and extensive studies of Mars.
- One reason this idea is at all feasible: Mars’ low gravity. The planet has just one-third of Earth’s gravitational pull, offering the Marsbees an advantage despite the thin atmosphere.