Robot Bees to Assist Settlement of Mars reported that each Marsbee will carry an integrated suite of sensors and wireless communications, and will have a body size approximately that of a bumblebee.  A mobile charging base will serve as a communications relay station for swarms of Marsbees.  Engineers foresee very low power requirements for these flying sensor packages. The design may include a torsional spring at the wing root to store energy and facilitate flapping motion.  Testing will be performed in a vacuum chamber adjusted to simulate Martian air density.  Illustration: JOSH MCCANN / SHUTTERSTOCK. Check out the extensive technical reporting on robotics and automation at!