A lot of study and invention is being done around the red planet and ways are designed to explore it in detail. The planet's rocky surface and sharpness are making it difficult to explore and know more. So NASA's launched Curiosity Rover hasn't really proved fruitful, the wheels despite being made of aluminum suffered some breaks in them. To counter this, NASA is now planning robotic explorers to be sent in the form of bees! Called Marsbees, a swarm is being developed to be sent for mapping out Mars. Sounds incredible?
These Marsbees will be the size of a bumblebee, a larger wing size, so the flapping will ensure they cover a longer distance as compared to the rover. These bees will launch themselves from a mobile base which will act as a communications hub and recharging station. "Our preliminary numerical results suggest that a bumblebee with a cicada wing can generate sufficient lift to hover in the Martian atmosphere," writes Chang-kwon Kang, an aerospace engineer at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.
Kang and his team will work with Japanese group to develop these robots to operate on the red planet. Japanese have already worked up on a "hummingbird micro-air vehicle" that can fly on Earth. They plan to use the same within a vacuum space to test its simulation for Mars.
The primary objective of the Marsbees would be collect air samples for detecting methane emissions. There is also a challenge of not much air in the atmosphere for these bees to cover the distances. But the gravitational pull is less and the scientists will take the advantage of this mechanism. Compared to the rover techniques, these bees definitely have more advantages- they would be more flexible and resilient. They would easily explore the planet through the air and with multiple bees working on network sensors, the findings would also be more accurate. The plan is in the early stages but sounds very intriguing.