Dragonflies to Explore Mars, Titan, Spook Out Aliens

A new robot called ExoFly could be exploring the surface of Mars, guiding rovers through the surface of the Red Planet. Developed by scientists at the Technical University Delft, Wageningen University, and TNO in Netherlands, the ExoFly is designed to imitate the flight patterns of dragonflies. Dragonflies from 300 million years ago, because these things are huge.

Wingspan: 350mm
Length: 400mm
Mass: 17g
Flying speed: 1.8 ms-1
Flapping frequency: 6 Hz
Flying Time: 12 min
Wing Material: Mylar foil
Structure: balsawood
Motor: 2g pager motor
Camera: 1.2g pinhole camera
Energy storage: 3g Li Polymer cell
Actuators: shape memory alloy wires
Base station: 3GHz PC
Sensors: pinhole camera

Based on the DelFly, an Earth-based robot capable of autonomous flight, with hovering, take-off and landing capabilities. Scientists say the ExoFly can be adapted to fly in the more dense atmosphere of Titan too, so expect a black monolith to appear on the Moon anytime now. [New Scientist]