Let’s face it: humans are not too good when it comes to searching for alien life forms. Until now, they found nothing. That’s why maybe we should leave the job to robots. But not just any robots would do, as they’ll need to be transported to other worlds to find forms of alien life. We’re pretty sure that there are no aliens living on Earth, although we have our doubts sometimes.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a concept to bring small and swimming robots “to life” in order to give them the mission to search for signs of alien life on other cosmic objects. The robots would be the size of cell phones, and they would be swimming fast throughout some of the Solar System’s numerous moons in their search for alien life. The American space agency itself revealed the concept via its official website.
Meet the Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers (SWIM) concept
The wild new concept is known as the Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers (SWIM), and it belongs to Ethan Schaler, who’s a robotics mechanical engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Southern California. NASA seems to be adding a lot of faith to Schaler’s idea, considering that the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) program provided a $600,000 Phase II funding for the concept.
One of the advantages, if the concept will indeed be put into action someday, is that the hypothetical mini-robots are numerous. Furthermore, they will be small enough to do their work efficiently.
Schaler explained as NASA quotes:
My idea is, where can we take miniaturized robotics and apply them in interesting new ways for exploring our solar system?
With a swarm of small swimming robots, we are able to explore a much larger volume of ocean water and improve our measurements by having multiple robots collecting data in the same area.
If space agencies ever encounter alien life, we can only hope that it won’t be too unfriendly.