There’s no sign of aliens on Mars yet, but the Red Planet may soon be swarming with bees. NASA is designing tiny winged robots the size of bumblebees and hopes they’ll be exploring Mars within the next decade. The idea is to augment slow, wheeled vehicles, such as the Curiosity rover, with swarms of fast-moving “Marsbees”—micro-bots that can cover much more ground and are cheaper to make and operate. The rechargeable, sensor-equipped bots will fly all over the planet and detect atmospheric conditions, map out the rocky terrain, measure weather patterns, and look for signs of life. NASA hopes the cyber insects will help pave the way for a human mission to Mars by 2030. “We need to know more about the environment before sending humans to Mars,” says Kevin Crosby, a physics professor at Carthage College in Wisconsin. “Marsbees will allow us to learn more about the Mars surface than we ever could with a rover because they can fly almost anywhere.”