NASA has announced that it has awarded funding to a combined team of researchers from the University of Alabama and an unnamed team in Japan for development of a new kind of Mars explorer. The project team has been awarded $125,000 to develop what NASA calls Marsbees: a swarm of robot bees that could fly in the thin Martian atmosphere and deliver information from their sensors.
Marsbees would be a swarm of “bumblebee size” flapping robots that could cover a far greater distance (with a lot less effort) than a rover could. But that doesn’t mean a rover would be left out: a rover would serve as a recharge station and main communications hub for the bees.
(Header image courtesy NASA)