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Means to Explore the Universe: Nanotechnology

By Enterprise Technology Review | Friday, March 15, 2019

Like many other technologies, nanotech is quickly becoming more “science” and less “fiction.”  There is a lot of potential importance for nanotechnology to improve the most ambitious human endeavors.

Nanotechnology features two primary methods, which are bottom-up and top-down. In the bottom-up approach, the materials or devices are self-assembled from molecular components whereas top-down micro-scale and macro-scale devices construct the nanoscale objects. Those features show the potential for the growth of future nanomaterials and nanodevices. Also, it is capable of exhibiting specific properties or being programmed to execute tasks and manage autonomously. With the potential in nanotechnology, it is easy to see why nanoengineering and nanotechnology research is growing, and a special focus is on exploring space: how to reach there, how to protect space travelers, and where they would live when they arrive on distant planets.

Space exploration is an important space which can to a maximum extent take advantage of nanotechnology.  But, it is inefficient, expensive, and risky in many ways. Investigating the surface of a distant planet using swarms of tiny nanorobots is a current application of nanotech in space exploration.

 

The Mars rovers have been the greatest success stories when it comes to planetary exploration.  But, rovers can only examine one small area at a time, and their movement velocities are quite slow. Here, the time lags are involved in communicating between Earth and Mars adding to the complexity of the instructions and data. The nanorobot swarm could be beneficial here.

The development of nanobots that operate using AI enables them to communicate and self-organize. A planetary surface survey mission could detect nanobots flowing or crawling across the landscape. Nanobot swarms could be effective in investigating the thick atmosphere of planets like Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, by delivering nanobots or nanosensors into the environment. This allows them to transmit their data back to orbiting satellites, collecting accurate information of these planets about wind currents, storm patterns, and chemical composition.

Many of the nanotechnology solutions are surveying these environments to release nanoscale sensors or robotics into the air. There is a vivid expectation with these swarms, but the presence of these foreign objects could damage the effect on the environment.

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