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NASA Funds Project to Put Robot Bees on Mars

Posted by on April 5, 2018 in Earth & Space, Sci-Tech, Technology with 0 Comments

Image: NASA/USGS/Ryan F. Mandelbaum

By Ryan F. Mandelbaum | Gizmodo

I can’t beelieve it! Maybe one day there will be bee-like robots buzzing around the surface of Mars.

NASA has selected 25 proposals to receive funding as part of its Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. Each award amounts to around $125,000. But as a website that’s always been a fan of small ideas, we quite liked Marsbee, a “Swarm of Flapping Wing Flyers for Enhanced Mars Exploration.”

“With their ability to fly through the ultra-low-density atmosphere of Mars, Marsbees will enable researchers to gather previously unattainable data about the pressure, temperature, and chemical composition of Mars,” project lead Chang-kwon Kang from The University of Alabama in Huntsville told Gizmodo. “They can also aid in collaborative terrain mapping.”

A Mars rover could serve as the home base for a swarm of these bees, according to the NASA release. They’d be low-power and specifically designed for the Red Planet’s lower-density atmosphere.

Bumblebees are great at flying on Earth, but not on Mars. Marsbees may be ready to buzz on the Red Planet in the early 2020s. Graphic: Chang-kwon Kang (NASA)


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