The University of Arizona's Wolfgang Fink has a different vision of what robot missions to other worlds should entail. His proposed tier-scalable reconnaissance involves sending a variety of different 'bots to work together instead of just one specialized lander. Here's his Tuscon Explorer II (or TEX II), which is designed to skim across alien bodies of water.
Right now the TEX II looks like little more than a plastic crate full of electronics, a bundle of cables, a couple of cameras, fans and some pontoons. That's probably because right now TEX II is little more than a plastic crate full of electronics, a bundle of cables, a couple of cameras, fans and some pontoons.
What it represents, though, is an autonomous platform that could "be used to explore the lakes of liquid hydrocarbon known to exist on Saturn's largest moon, Titan," according to a release by the University of Arizona. While TEX II would cover a lake's surface area, say, it would be supported by "a hierarchy of intelligent, autonomous robots that could include satellites, airships or blimps, and a fleet of rovers and lake landers," which is what tier-scalable reconnaissance is all about.
TEX II is the second robot Fink has produced as he builds his robotic tiered recon team. The first was a ground-based rover, which you can learn a little more about in this video right here. (Also worth a peek: the Wikipedia page for tier-scalable reconnaissance.)