Robotic bees and their benefits are an active area of interest and research here on Earth. But, NASA approved a new project that suggests their work may not be limited only to our home planet.
The space agency just offered green light for a research project that is set to investigate how swarms of bees would be able to spread out over Mars’ surface offering more exploration options.
On Earth, researchers have been looking for various ways in which bees can be helped with pollination via mechanics. They have also been working on all kinds of search and rescue operations, espionage missions, and crop monitoring with the help of mechanical bees.
The question is how would robo-bees fare on Mars?
Mars’ environment might not be hostile to the mechanical bees
Early research in Japan showed that the Red Planet’s otherwise hostile environment might not show the same hostility for robotic bees.
According to the preliminary results, a robo-bee’s wings are able to produce enough lift for hovering the planet’s atmosphere. Mars’ atmosphere is 100 times thinner than Earth’s.
Marsbees would be launched from a ground rover, and this would be a mobile base that would keep the robo-bees charged and handle communication.
The swarms would take off and use onboard sensors and wireless communication as well in order to gather useful info on Mars in a similar way that current rovers do it.
The Marsbees project is still in the works
This promising project is still in its very early stages, and it’s one of the 25 proposals chosen by NASA under its NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts initiative (NIAC).
The team of researchers was rewarded with about US$125,000 to keep going forward with their exciting idea.
Over the next few years, the team will continue to examine the project’s performance in a vacuum chamber that has been reduced to Mars’ air density.
According to NASA, most projects that have been selected for the first phase of NIAC will require a decade or even more of technological development before they are ready to be used on a mission.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.