NASA Developing Robotic Bees to Collect Samples, Map Mars Surface

3D render depicting a robot wasp, isolated on white.

NASA’s Mars rovers have gathered a lot of exciting data and photographs, but they’re moving at a snail’s pace. So how will it expedite that process? Robotic bees.

The space agency is developing bee-sized robots to map the surface of Mars and collect samples from the planet’s atmosphere. Scientists hope these insectoids will be more mobile and agile than traditional rovers.

The program, called “Marsbees,” is contracting researchers from the U.S. and Japan to build prototypes of winged robots, capable of swarming the red planet and collecting data, before returning to a rover to recharge.

 

Image courtesy uah.edu

 

One of the biggest obstacles engineers face is designing a robot that can fly in Mars’ unique climate. The red planet’s atmosphere can be pretty hostile with dust storms, low thermal inertia, and periodic ice ages. These bees will inevitably face some extreme weather conditions.

But there is one factor that may make the mission easier –  Mars’ gravitational pull is about a third of Earth’s, which could prove to be more conducive to flight.

NASA’s website envisions the robots as roughly the size of a bee, but with larger, cicada-sized wings. Researchers imagine the bees will be capable of working independently or in teams to collect samples.

The program funding the project is called the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, or NIAC, which fosters science fiction concepts with the potential for realistic applications.

The aerial bots would primarily search for methane emissions from below the planet’s surface – an indication of subterranean Martian life. NASA’s Curiosity rover previously discovered low levels of the gas, encouraging scientists to explore further.

But the technology for this apian concept doesn’t have a lot of promising precedent. Several years ago, DARPA built a hummingbird-inspired drone, with a multi-million-dollar budget. Researchers engineered it to fly steadily, but the winged machine would likely struggle in the Martian environment.

Engineers working on the Marsbees prototype will test their robots in a vacuum chamber, with conditions to simulate the climate and air density on Mars. The group is receiving just $125,000 over the course of nine months to fund their prototype, before it will be tested for feasibility by NASA. If it passes preliminary tests, it will then be eligible for a second round of funding.



Stargates and Hidden Portals on Earth and in Space

In 2015, NASA admitted that the idea of Earth portals — areas on the planet that instantly teleport human beings from one place to the other — are a reality that they have been studying for quite some time.

One of NASA’s spacecraft, the THEMIS, and cluster probes from Europe have amassed enough observational data to confirm that a magnetic stargate portal exists in many locations.

Usually these are found where the faraway geomagnetic field bumps up against the passing solar wind. The result is a direct pathway between the Earth and the sun.

In March 2015, NASA launched its Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) that, among other things, is tasked with studying these portals to gain a deeper understanding of them. Most of these are small with short lives, though others have been observed as gaping holes with sustained lifespans. Opening and closing numerous times during the day, magnetic forces mingle, allowing their crackling energy particles to flow between the Earth and the sun. These meeting points — called X-points by NASA — have been pinpointed by scientists using polar data.

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is probably the most famous stargate portal. Encompassing three vertices, the Bermuda Triangle — sometimes referred to as the Devil’s Triangle — is a large abyss that stretches between San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bermuda Island, and Miami, Florida. First noted in late 1950 or early 1951, the Bermuda Triangle was deemed to be a mysterious area in which huge military ships and planes were “lost” without any other plausible explanation forthcoming from the government or the military. In 1964, Vincent H. Gaddis argued that the Bermuda Triangle was the site of strange occurrences such as disappearing tanker ships and jets with the government being unwilling — or unable — to provide a reason or explanation.

The Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment, also sometimes called Project Rainbow, grew out of the desire to cloak the U.S. Navy’s destroyer, USS Eldridge, so that enemy devices were not able to detect it. Built on concepts relative to stargate portals, the project relied on a technological application developed by well-known and respected scientific greats Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein.

Testing started in 1943 and was successful to a large degree. In fact, some witnesses noted that they saw a green fog in the area where the massive ship once stood. Further experiments in late October resulted in the USS Eldridge vanishing from its shakedown cruise in the Bahamas. Simultaneously, sailors stationed 375 miles south at the Norfolk Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia, reported the ship’s appearance for several minutes before it vanished.

Alfred Bielek, a former crew member on board the USS Eldridge, and Duncan Cameron, who would later work on the Montauk Project, jumped from the deck of the USS Eldridge when it was trapped in hyperspace and landed in the future.

Once they arrived at Camp Hero in 1983, they were tasked with returning to the USS Eldridge in order to destroy the equipment holding the ship in hyperspace. The pair did so successfully before leaping off the deck and materializing in the current year.

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