According to the Huffington Post, experimentation with energy-producing bacteria is something that scientists have been doing for nearly a century, but “applications of microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology are just beginning to blossom.”
MFC technology could be the perfect solution to power planetary robotics because, as the Huffington Post explains, “the bacteria in MFCs produce electrons automatically and reproduce over time, these devices are extremely reliable. They’re also hardy, not needing any oxygen to live and able to survive the low temperatures of deep space. On top of that, they’re more efficient than standard lithium-ion batteries because bacteria can be packed together much more tightly.”
The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) reports that NASA hopes to use MFCs to power small space robots, including ‘microrovers’ that could potentially explore remote regions of outer space.