NASA is funding a program for the development of robotic bee-size devices that will be sent to explore as-of-yet undiscovered sectors of the Red Planet.
The machines, known as Marsbees, will roughly be the size of a bumblebee and equipped with long, cicada-like wings that will enable them to hover in Mars’ thin atmosphere. They will also be fitted with a raft of sensors and data-transmission devices to accurately map the planet’s hidden crevices.
The insectoid robots would use the rovers already operating on Mars’ surface as charging stations.
The Marsbee program is in its initial development phase. NASA hopes to have them ready for launch ahead of the first manned mission to Mars, planned for around 2030.