NASA plans to develop an arsenal of alien-hunting robots
The POT is considering creating a true swarm of robots to look for extraterrestrial life on other planets; this is not a plot from a science fiction movie.
The SWIM concept, designed by the US space agency for the investigation of celestial bodies and planets, will feature tiny robots, which are about the size of a cell phone.
The robots would be inserted in a probe that melts ice and penetrates the planets' several-kilometer-thick icy cover before a mechanism releases them underwater
underwater to collect measurements of the oceans, which were previously inaccessible, according to a story from the Spanish version of Independent.
An investment of 600 thousand dollars
According to the report, Ethan Schaler, a mechanical engineer with a focus on robotics at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
received $600,000 to research design and feasibility possibilities with the goal of creating a 3D-printed prototype within the next two years.
Shaler pondered: "How might we use miniature robotics to examine our solar system in novel and fascinating ways?" Then he responded.
"By having numerous robots gathering data in the same location, we can explore a considerably wider volume of ocean water with a swarm of miniature swimming robots and improve our observations."
SWIM concept illustration (POT)
Each robot would be equipped with its own propulsion system, computer, and ultrasonic communications system.
A set of sensors would also allow them to measure temperature, salinity, acidity, pressure and biomarkers.
The SWIM concept is not yet part of any NASA mission, but the robots could be part of the payload of the Europa Clipper mission in 2024.
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