Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

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 ")

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’ - E.C. Tubb, 1955.

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...' - Fritz Leiber, 1961.

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts.' - Fritz Leiber, 1961.

Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain
'... the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1929.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

NAVER Labs Haptic Device 2.0 Robot vs. IKEA
'... the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’

Shine On, Portable Wind Turbine
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'

Amazing Indoor Robotic Drones Mimic Dolphins and Whales
'They circled the vast audiences, dancing, twittering, chirping...'

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...'

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!'

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts..'

Tianjin Solar Vehicle From Hanergy (2022) Looking Like Heinlein's (1940)
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain
'... the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions.'

Sky Cruise Nuclear Powered Flying Hotel Concept
'... the huge air-freighter Jupiter.'

The Mojo Smart Contact Lens Experience
'... the lens displays would be useless without a wearable computer to do the graphics.'

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

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.