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Swarm of tiny swimming robots could look for life on distant worlds


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Someday, a swarm of cellphone-size robots could whisk through the water beneath the miles-thick icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Enceladus, looking for signs of alien life. Packed inside a narrow ice-melting probe that would tunnel through the frozen crust, the tiny robots would be released underwater, swimming far from their mothercraft to take the measure of a new world.

That's the vision of Ethan Schaler, a robotics mechanical engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, whose Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers (SWIM) concept was recently awarded $600,000 in Phase II funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. The funding, which follows his 2021 award of $125,000 in Phase I NIAC funding to study feasibility and design options, will allow him and his team to make and test 3D-printed prototypes over the next two years.

https://phys.org/news/2022-06-swarm-tiny-robots-life-distant.html

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The robots will communicate acoustically with the lander. I wonder will that be something like the handshake old modems used to communicate with servers?

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