NASA has two teams of researchers working to design a robotic bee that can fly on Mars.
The space agency announced the project on March 30. It's in its early stages, but the idea is to replace modern rovers — which are slow, bulky and very expensive — with swarms of sensor-studded, fast-moving micro-bots that can cover much more ground at a relatively low cost.
Literally called Marsbees, the little bots are "flapping wing flyers of a bumblebee size with cicada-sized wings," NASA officials wrote.
As Live Science has previously reported, the largest species of bumblebee grows to be up to 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) long, but the American bumblebee is about a quarter of that size. Cicada wings, according to a range of formal scientific descriptions, can vary from 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) to more than double that length, depending on the species.