Swarms of tiny robots may one day explore oceans on other worlds

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has awarded $600,000 of additional funding towards a concept that would see swarms of diminutive swimming robots sent to explore oceans on moons or planets throughout the solar system.

Such a system of distributed tiny robots could extend the reach of a mission sent to study oceans beneath the icy surfaces of some of our solar system’s moons such as Saturn’s Enceladus or Jupiter’s Europa. The concept, called “Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers,” or SWIM, is the brainchild of Ethan Schaler, a robotics mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The latest funding award was announced in a Jet Propulsion Laboratory news release.



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