NASA developing robot bee swarm to explore Mars

The proposed plan would see 'Marsbees' being used to learn more about the Red Planet and search for signs of life.


NSFW    WASHINGTON — NASA researchers are working on robot bees to explore Mars.

According to a new NASA proposal for Martian exploration, robot Marsbees would use a rover as a mobile base for operations and charging. They can stay airborne for 4 to 6 hours. The space agency says the Marsbee is the size of a bumble bee, with a wingspan similar to a cicada.

According to the plan, the low Martian gravity reduces the power requirements for generating lift. It's because of this researchers have incorporated a flapping wing design, with a torsional spring to absorb wasted energy.

The Marsbees will also be equipped with sensors and wireless devices. They'll use these to further map and sample the red planet, as well as search for methane gas — a key indicator of life.

The Marsbee proposal is being worked on by a team scientists from the U.S. and Japan.
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