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.

Bringing Mars to Life



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Project Serpo and the Zeta Reticuli Exchange Program

In November 1977, Steven Spielberg released his movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” It was a financial and artistic success. It received a number of accolades, including nominations for four Golden Globes and eight Academy Awards. In 2007, the U.S. Library Of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” and chose it for preservation in the library “for all time.” Read the purported story of Project Serpo, then consider the evidence.

UFO Encounter Classification

For those new to the topic, the title of Spielberg’s movie came from the UFO classification developed by astronomer and UFO researcher, J. Allen Hynek’s Classification of UFO encounters: + Encounters of the first kind: Someone sees a UFO at a distance closer than 500 feet and is able to give a pretty good description of the object + Encounters of the second kind: The viewing of an UFO creates a physical sensation. For example, the encounter may involve a feeling of heat, or a feeling of paralysis in the body + Encounters of the third kind: Encounters in which a type of “animated creature” accompanies the UFO encounter.

Hynek was an Advisor to the U.S. Air Force on several of its UFO study projects. While he was bound by security clearances, he was undoubtedly privy to information that he was unable to share publicly. He also had a cameo appearance in the Spielberg movie.

In the movie, there are human encounters with extraterrestrials (ETs) and, in the end, one person voluntarily decides to join the ETs and travel with them back to their planet. Could there be any truth to this story? Is it possible that Earth has contacted ETs or that Americans have visited other planets? Read about the Serpo Exchange Program and President Ronald Reagan’s knowledge of Project Serpo.

The Exchange Program Between Earth and Project Serpo In the Zeta Reticuli System

The Planet Serpo exchange project traces its origins to the Famous Roswell Incident where a UFO reportedly crashed in the plains near Socorro, New Mexico, on May 31, 1947. The remains of the craft and one living ET, along with the bodies of his four dead companions, were taken to Roswell for analysis. Meanwhile, the government reported to the American public by telling them they had only seen weather balloons.

As it turned out, there were Two Crashes. The remains of the second UFO were not found until about two years later. It appeared the two spacecraft had crashed into each other. By then, six bodies of dead aliens had decomposed, so there wasn’t much of them left. Even so, the remains were taken to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for evaluation and study.

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