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 ")

Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.' - George Lucas, 1977.

Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.' - EC Tubb, 1958.

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

 

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

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.'

Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.'

Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...'

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Won By AI SpaceFactory
3D printing - on Mars!

The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System call it artificial telepathy, if you like.'

Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.'

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...'

Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'

Project Dylan - Amazon's Voice-Activated Wearable That Recognizes Human Emotions
Life imitates anime art.

Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
'Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area.'

Lilium Electric Air Taxi Prototype
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Swedes Premiere T-Pod Driverless Electric Truck
'the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.'

Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Bottoms up!

Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.

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.