Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carnival Of The Space Geeks (Big Tent Edition) Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
Last weeks Carnival of Space was hosted by Chuck over at Lounge of the Lab Lemming which featured posts ranging from Kentucky fried rockets to black holes living within moons to even musing about Ceres's little brother, Pallas.

One article that really caught my eye was a post by Ray Villard of Cosmic Ray with an interesting way to explore the surfaces of both Mars and Saturn's moon Titan.

(Cosmic Ray) The dragonfly-on-steroids is called ExoFly, a nimble flapping aerobot being prototyped at the Technical University Delft, Wageningen University in the Netherlands. [...]

In the past few years engineers have gotten a better understanding of the complexities of insect flight and have been able to mechanically duplicate them. Having a small flexible machine capable of flying, hovering, landing and taking off like an insect would open up a new exploration niches that it not easily reachable by rovers or airborne vehicles on far flung worlds.

These small flying robots are ideal for Mars, as well as for Titan exploration. Their tiny onboard cameras would give a unique view of geological terrain that is quantitative different from a rover's view or high-resolution orbital reconnaissance.

The prototype ExoFly weighs less than an ounce, has a wingspan of only a foot, and can fly for 12 minutes on batteries.
These mechanical creatures would be an added bonus for future colonists as well, as they could scan the tops of cliffs (on either Mars or Titan) to help determine whether its safe to stand upon (or even locate nearby resources).

While these engineers will probably have to adapt their robotic dragonflies to handle both Martian and Titan weather (as they are very different from each other).

Be sure to check out the rest of the entries from the Carnival, and if you desire to submit your post to the next Carnival of Space, feel free to visit Universe Today for details on how to enter.

Note: I should be able to resume posting by tomorrow, although I did enjoy reading many of the blogs from my iPhone. :-)

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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