Robotic dragonflies could be the next explorers on Mars, and a new design is already buzzing around on Earth. Developed by Festo, the mechanical insect exploits the unique mechanics of four winged flight, allowing it to fly in all directions, hover in mid air and glide without beating its wings (see video above).
Each wing’s motion can be fine tuned by controlling its amplitude, flapping frequency and thrust which is achieved by adjusting its tilt and twist. The team says a smartphone can act as a remote control to put the dragonfly almost anywhere in a given space.
Although it appears to be considerably larger than a real dragonfly, the robot is light thanks to a carbon fibre frame and flexible polymer shell. That structure holds a microcontroller, mechanical components, sensors and wireless modules, showing how different functions can be integrated and miniaturised
If you enjoyed this video, watch robot penguins take to the water and the skies or check out a shape shifting robotic bird.
You could soon see glowing objects in the sky: psychedelic planes are being developed. The aim is better aerodynamics, though, rather than ralph lauren outlet online messing with your mind.
Plasma, which makes neon lights glow, can also create jets of air to help propel small plan ralph lauren outlet online es when generated over wings. In this video, captured by Berkant Goeksel and colleagues at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, the effect on the airflow is visible on a test wing as it extinguishes the flame from a lighter. Another clip, captured in a wind tunnel, shows how ionised gas can help regain lift. The wing is placed at a high angle of attack, a position in which it often experiences loss of lift. But the flow is excited when the plasma is turned on, allowing the wing to rise up again. The wing is loosely mounted in this demo to make the difference in lift visible.
A rare amateur video of the Challenger shuttle disaster has surfaced in Hicksville, New York, over 25 years after the tragic event when seven astronauts lost their lives.
Captured by registered nurse Bob Karman, the chilling raw footage was filmed from Orlando airport, just 80 kilometres from the launch site, as he was returning from a family vacation at Disney World. His late wife and 3 year old daughter Kim, who now works at New Scientist, are visible in the beginning of the clip. “After shooting the video, I had a sense that something went wrong but it wasn’t until we were on the plane that the pilot confirmed the tragedy,” he says.
Karman always remembered filming the event but it was only recently, while researching historic amateur videos, that he became aware of the video’s rarity. Captured in an era that precedes mobile phones, when few people owned camcorders, it’s one of few video recordings of the disaster by a member of the public. In 2010, an article in The Guardian documented the discovery of a similar video, claiming that it was the only one in existence.
According to NASA spokesperson Michael Curie, NASA does not have ralph lauren outlet online a collection of amateur videos of the disaster. “The Rogers Commission used all the NASA photography and videos in its investigation but we do not know if they used outside amateur videos,” he says.
The clip was digitised last month from an old VHS tape. Karman believes he could be the only living person to have documented the tragedy on home video.
For more space related videos, check out the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour or watch our video special of key events that took Apollo to the moon.
The roar of a rocket motor at a test range in Texas seems to herald America’s intent to launch people back into space. Built by SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, it’s one of eight rockets that will be fitted into the conical flanks of the Dragon manned spacecraft. The capsule will allow for propulsive landings on Earth, the Moon or Mars as well as helping astronauts escape a fiery end if the rocket below them explodes.
The motors are hypergolic, meaning that they spontaneously ignite when their two fuels mix. Unlike a solid rocket motor that has to burn fully like a firework, this allows them to be switched on and off at will. Another advantage is that the fuels don’t need to be cooled cryogenically.
In the event of an accident, however, volatile hypergolic fuels can be extremely dangerous. “The Komet’s fulminating rocket fuels would explode spontaneously when mixed in even minute quantities and on one hideous occasion had actually dissolved a pilot alive before rescuers could free him from his crashed aircraft,” he writes.
Since those early days, aerospace engineers have learned a lot about hypergolic rocket motor safety and SpaceX will no doubt have the tanks well protected.
If you enjoyed this post, watch a rocket sled eject a mannequin or see a nanorocket propel itself through liquid.
In this video, the cargo sliding out a plane’s back chute are giant water balloons developed by Boeing to fight wildfires. Specialised air tankers containing fire retardant or water are typically used to control fires but the US Forest Service only has 11 available for use. So Boeing is planning to equip other aircraft for the task by loading them up with cardboard crates lined with biodegradable bags. Air resistance rips the cardboard lid off, tearing off strips fixed to the box and releasing water.
You can read our full blog post about the technique here.
If you enjoyed this video, check out other achievements in aviation including the world’s first 3D plane and the most efficient way to board an airliner.
Boarding a plane can be a frustrating experience as all the passengers clamber through the aisle at the same time to find a seat. But now Jason Steffen, an astrophysicist at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, has come up with a more effi ralph lauren outlet online cient method after running computer simulations. In this video, you can watch a group of people test it out.
You can read our full story on the technique here.
If you enjoyed this video, you might like to see an animation of the next generation of supersonic jets or watch a plane fly through the night for the first time using only solar power.
You no longer need high tech machines to create a plane. Armed with a 3D printer, Jim Scanlan from the University of Southampton and his team designed and built a drone in just a week. Even moving parts were produced all in one go doing away with the need for assembly. In this video, you can watch the plane take to the skies for the first time in an airfield close to Stonehenge in the UK.