Scientists at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) say that exobots are the way forward in exploring other worlds, beyond our solar system. These machines are self-replicating, autonomous robots, capable of displaying a high degree of initiative and adaptation.
Exobots are also the optimal solution when it comes to finding and identifying extraterrestrial life on extrasolar planets. The machines could be used to look for signs of life on the surface, under the surface, and high in the air.
Until they are deployed to other planets, these machines could first be used to clean up all the garbage currently clogging many of the finest orbits around Earth. The space debris problem can no longer be ignored, experts around the world agree.
One of the reasons this approach to conducting space exploration was proposed is the ineffectiveness of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Initiative, which has been going on unsuccessfully for the past 50 years.
“The basic premise is that human space exploration must be highly efficient, cost effective, and autonomous as placing humans beyond low Earth orbit is fraught with political economic, and technical difficulties,” expert John D. Mathews argues.
He holds an appointment as a professor of electrical engineering at Penn State. The scientist reported on his proposal in the latest issue of the esteemed Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.
“Only by developing and deploying self-replicating robotic spacecraft – and the incumbent communications systems – can the human race efficiently explore even the asteroid belt, let alone the vast reaches of the Kuiper Belt, Oort Cloud, and beyond,” Mathews writes in the paper.
Any alien civilization or lifeforms, he believes, are limited by the same basic problems affecting humans – the need to conserve limited resources and the boundaries set in place by the fundamental laws of physics, among others.
Under these circumstances, it would make sense for these aliens to send robots – or similar contraptions – to space as well. This appears to be the most efficient method of exploration found to date.
“If they are like us, they too have a dysfunctional government and all the other problems plaguing us. They won't want to spend a lot to communicate with us,” Mathews concludes.