NASA developing robot troops to explore alien worlds

NEW YORK - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a new troop of robots that could one day race across distant planets as a sort of space exploration vanguard.

Dubbed as "swarmies", the remote controlled toy truck-like robots are much smaller than other robots such as Mars rover Curiosity equipped with a webcam, wi-fi antenna and GPS system for navigation, the swarmies work like an ant colony, Fox News reported. Like an ant, once one of the robots finds something interesting, it can use radio communication to call its robotic brethren over to help collect samples.

Engineers from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida developed a programme that directs the swarmies to fan out in different directions and search for a specific, predetermined material, like water on Mars. Kurt Leucht, a NASA scientist who is working on the project, was quoted as saying, "For a while people were interested in inserting as much capability as they could into one robot."

"Now people are realising that they can have much smaller and simpler robots which can work together and achieve a task," he added. NASA engineers are also working on snake-like robots that could explore Mars and deep diving robots that could explore the oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa, the report added.

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Aaj Kal