Tiny Bots, Super Plants for Space Exploration


microbots.JPGNASA's sci-fi arm never fails to disappoint. After years of funding research into weather control, antimatter harvesting, and spray-on spacesuits, the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts has come up with a new set of far-out ideas it's decided to bankroll. Among them:

* "Microbots for Large-Scale Planetary Surface and Subsurface Exploration," a plan to scatter thousands of hopping, 10-centimeter, spherical machines into the Moon's lava tubes.* "Investigation of the Feasibility of Laser Trapped Mirrors in Space." Can a set of lasers create a force field that'll hold a 100-nm thick, 35-meter diameter telescope in orbit?* "Redesigning Living Organism to Survive on Mars." Let's breed hybrid plants that can survive the Red Planet's radiation, lack of oxygen, and extreme temperatures, so our astronauts have something to eat up there.
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