Now I acquired that the Ingenuity drone copter twirling about on Mars communicates with the Perseverance rover employing 900MHz Zigbee radios. Not Wi-Fi, GSM, or one thing unique like fission-run lasers or room algae, but the exact same client tech you use to convert on a Philips Hue lightbulb.

I arrived across the news by way of an incredulous tweet from Ben Bromley who found out it on the Linux Unplugged podcast with guest Tobin Richardson, CEO of the Zigbee Alliance.

According to Richardson, Zibee is the best wi-fi protocol to transfer telemetry details among NASA’s Perseverance rover and the semi-autonomous traveling drone. “Looking at definitely extreme environments, like Mars, it’s good to have a very light-weight function-designed regular,” explained Richardson, “where it is necessary to get the basic information and facts throughout and will make it doable for extended battery utilization for people types of apps on Mars.”

It turns out that what can make Zibee wonderful for clever residences also makes it remarkably ideal for missions to the Crimson World. The Zigbee wi-fi protocol exemplified “low energy” extensive prior to Bluetooth adopted the LE specification. That helps make it excellent for the trivial information requirements of modest, battery-run wise dwelling equipment like movement and temperature sensors, and also for lightweight drones. The protocol is also very sturdy, built to function in a mesh of nodes that can defeat packet shipping failures with no interfering with neighboring signals. That is the form of dependability you also want when functioning on a various earth.

Zigbee also has loads of array. In the house, the Zigbee Alliance claims its signal can attain about 150 ft. But that can be stretched substantially farther with line-of-sight, and presumably farther continue to in the extremely slender ambiance of Mars, which lacks the dense radio interference viewed in this article on Earth. In accordance to NASA, the four-pound Ingenuity helicopter is capable of communicating with the Mars Helicopter Foundation Station on the Perseverance drone from as considerably as “nine football fields away” or about 2,700 toes. If you want that sort of vary for your possess sensible home items, perfectly, begin packing your bags for Mars.

When arrived at for comment, the Consortium For Hey Really do not Forget About Z-Wave claimed it would happily setup on any aged place rock. “We’re good as well,” claimed a spokesperson evidently astonished by the consideration. “No, truly.”