NASA scienists, Dr. Penelope Boston and Dr. Steven Dubowsky, have developed "hopping microbots" capable of exploring hazardous terrain, including underground caves.

If the project pans out, hopping microbots may some day be sent to search for life below the surface of Mars.

Boston spends a lot of time in caves, studying the microorganisms that live there. She is the director of the Cave and Karst Studies Program and an associate professor at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico. Dubowsky is the director of the MIT Field and Space Robotics Laboratory at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is known in part for his research into artificial muscles.

Astrobiology Magazine interviewed Boston shortly after she and Dubowsky received their Phase II NIAC grant. This is the first of a two-part interview.