Exploration of far away worlds takes longer for a human. Actually besides all the pre-trips necessary to figure it all out, they literally take longer to get there, are more expensive and perhaps NASA might like to visit worlds that are not exactly inviting to humans – they aren’t just searching for a new ‘Earth’, they are searching for the greatest thing possible, knowledge.
So how can NASA do it? How can they investigate these new worlds, wherever they may be and no matter how hostile?
With their robot army.
The autonomous robots that resemble some remote controlled toy truck just might be the ticket. Called “Swarmies” Swarmies are smaller than NAA robots to date, come equipped with webcams, Wi-Fi antennas and a GPS system as their basic package. Functioning much like an ant colony – fanning out in different directions with specific commands to search for something predetermined such as water or Hydrogen. Once one of the robot army locates something of interest, it calls back to the others/to NASA and the swarm will come to his aid.
The pluses? These robots are not super smart. Not that they are dumb either. They know exactly what they need to, no more and no less. They work together to complete a task and should one of their group meet their end, all of the others in the robot swarm can complete the mission. Another plus- the robot can be constructed in such a way as to fit their final destination. Such as the slithering snake-like robots for Mars or the deep-fiving robots for Europa and some of Saturn or Jupiter’s ocean covered moons. Really they are only limited by our imagination!
The Swarmie pictured below is called RASSOR. RASSOR is a robot that is programmed for digging, mining and that sort of mission. RASSOR’s could be utilized on the Moon finding veins of hydrogen to mine & mix with the soil to form water (and some remaining elements).
Think of the cool uses on Earth! From the obvious aiding in rescue missions – going off in separate directions and reporting when making a find OR inspecting various equipment, a Ferris Wheel, a pipeline, a school where some toxic leak is suspected.
Mission specific robots that won’t be turning self-aware anytime soon, yet can accomplish anything together, very cool!