‘Smart dust’ to explore planets

European Space AgencyTiny “smart” devices that can be borne on the wind like dust particles could be carried in space probes to explore other planets, UK engineers say.

The devices would consist of a computer chip covered by a plastic sheath that can change shape when a voltage is applied, enabling it to be steered.

Details were presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Preston.

Dr. John Barker, from the University of Glasgow, said the particles could use wireless networking to form swarms.

The idea of using millimetre-sized devices to explore far-flung locations is nothing new, but Dr Barker and his colleagues are starting to look in detail at how it might be achieved.

Source:  BBC News

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