NASA is reportedly preparing a swarm of robot bees to deploy to Mars. The robotic explorers will help prepare a future manned mission to Mars just like the Curiosity rover which is already there.
The robot bees or “Marsbees”could be used to take samples and study the Martian atmosphere. The Curiosity rover or another mobile rover could be used as their home base in the process.
Several researchers are now testing the bees in vacuum chambers to see if they are feasible for a Mars mission. The flying bots may find it hard to fly in the Red Planet’s atmosphere.
If the experiments are successful, the robot bees could offer researchers new opportunities when it comes to the analysis of the Red Planet. Engineers are confident that a cicada wing attached to the robots would provide enough lift to make them fly on Mars.
Robot Bees Being Tested by NASA Team
Researchers also envision an energy-efficient system and special wing structures that can keep the bees afloat.
The team behind the robotic bees includes scientists from all parts of the world including Japan and the U.S. NASA awarded the team $125,000 to develop the concept.
For the Japanese, the idea is not new. Japanese researchers designed a hummingbird-like robot that can study our planet’s atmosphere. They are now working on adjusting that robot to be able to withstand Mars’ thinner atmosphere.
The team explained that the bees will operate in groups so that if one bot fails, others can take its place. Marsbees could be sent on solitary missions as well, if necessary. Their home base will recharge them and beam the data they collected back to Earth.
Image Source: NASA