Nasa Plans The Next Mars Mission: ‘Robot Bees’

Nasa Plans The Next Mars Mission: ‘Robot Bees’

Nasa Plans The Next Mars Mission: ‘Robot Bees’

A swarm of robot bees designing to explore the surface of the Mars which it is developing through Nasa.

The space agency has given funding to Marsbees, a project that is working on an efficient way to getting around the Red Planet through the air.

Chang-Kwon Kang, one of the researchers behind the initiative, says that these “robotic flapping wing flyers of a bumblebee size” can “significantly enhancing the Mars exploration mission”.

The tiny robots will fit with sensors and wireless communication devices and will use a Mars rover like Nasa’s Curiosity as a charging point.

The earthbound rovers can provide scientists with lots of useful information; their progress is tending to slow. The Marsee robots, on the other hand, can travel quickly across the planet’s surface, beaming report back to the rover, which will also act as the primary communication centre.

Preliminary results from the Kang and his team at the University of Alabama suggesting their robots’ insect-like design will allow them to hover in the Martian atmosphere, even though it is far thinner than the one found on Earth.

A team in Japan will develop and test the “micro flapping robots”, while Kang and his colleagues back in the US will model, analysing and optimise them.

The Japanese roboticists have already produced the hummingbird micro air vehicle, one of the few “robotic flappers” capable of flying on the Earth. The project was funding as part of the Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts scheme, which provides early-stage ideas with the grants of around $125,000

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