ExoFly Flapping Planetary Survey Aerobot

ExoFly is a light-weight flapping wing robotic fly under development for use as a planetary survey and exploration tool. The device is based on the well-known DelFly, very small micro camera plane (just three grams!).

Flapping winged flight is well suited to the low density and highly viscous Martian atmosphere, but may also be used in a denser atmosphere such as Titan. In any planetary mission, ExoFly would be a highly innovative mission element, technically part of the mission infrastructure, but enabling scientific breakthrough observations with the imaging system and micro-payload.

A demonstrator has been implemented for use in Earth atmosphere, capable of autonomous, stable and robust straight-line flight and hovering, as well as take-off and landing capabilities. This demonstrator has a total weight of 17 grams and is able to fly for 12 minutes with onboard energy storage and a pinhole camera payload.


(ExoFly Flapping Planetary Survey Aerobot [pdf])

Scientists are excited to be able to break away from the limitations of traditional, ground-based exploration of planetary surfaces, so ably carried out by robotic explorers like the Mars rovers.

One of the most important aspects of ExoFly is that it will provide outcrop scale visual information from a mobile platform. The importance of such observations on the planetary surface can not be overemphasized: most of the clues about the current environmental conditions (e.g. wind, chemical erosion) or the past environment, though geological studies of the rock record (e.g. sedimentary structures, volcanic flow features indicative of water depth, particle size in fans and deltas) are between 1mm and 1 m in size. To avoid misinterpretations, such features need to be analysed in 3D, such as commonly done during field expeditions on Earth. Current planetary data sources, from orbit or from a rover, can not provide such observations, due to a combination of lack of visual resolution, atmospheric haze, and limitations in mobility and viewing angles.

I can't think of the of a better science-fictional precursor than the iconic Scarab flying insect robot from Raymond Z. Gallun's The Scarab, published in Astounding Stories magazine in 1936.

The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together, as flies will do when at rest. Then, apparently satisfied that it was in condition, it unfolded the coleoptera-like plates over its wings. With a buzz that any uninformed person would have mistaken for that of a beetle, it started out on its journey.
(Read more about the scarab flying insect robot)

The Scarab was also flown by remote control; the pilot was able to see what the Scarab saw with its "minute vision tubes."

Read the short paper abstract provided in PDF format - ExoFly: a flapping wing aerobot for planetary survey and exploration - for more information.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/30/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun' - Isaac Asimov, 1941.

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Starlink Orbital Network Like Coruscant Traffic Jam
Vermin of the Sky? Or Internet access for all?

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...' - Ray Cummings, 1930.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cute Teddy Bear Robot Favorite Of Hospitalized Children
'...thought had been given to its programming.'

Google Now Expects Chips To Design Themselves
'What lay down there? Energy, tubes and pipes, wiring, transformers, self-contained machinery...'

PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun'

3D Printed Glass Uses Stereolithography Techniques
'All that with glass...'

Science Fiction Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'

I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'

Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'

Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'

Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'

AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'

E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Soft Robots Use Kirigami Piezoelectric Sensor Skin
'A worthy opponent was the golem.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.