Pentagon (DARPA) research into how flying snakes work

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Sam Posten, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You can't make this stuff up....

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/22/AR2010112207014.html


    I wonder if they have considered the possibility that it is silica related?
     
  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Well, in all seriousness, there are snakes that somewhat glide much farther than any garden variety snake (pun intended) by forming like a wing shaped while S turning in the air, thereby proving the same lift the wing of an airplaine would provide. Now, I wouldn't considerit flying as they can't really go higher than their current elevation but they can certainly glide to a lot farther distance than anybody and they have the ability to land safely from a fairly tall distance.

    As far as the applications for the Pentagon and Darpa, UAVs come to mind, which is a hot topic these days due to obvious mapower and performance related stuff..

    Or maybe they just want a way to distribute silica farther..


    Jay
     
  3. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    As Jay is saying, the study of how nature accomplishes a task can often lead to practical use. The study of "flying" snakes might sound frivolous, but it could pay off in more efficient wings, for instance. If nature has invented a way to make wing out of a flexible tube, we aught to look into it.


    If nothing practical comes of it, and we just learn how they do it, I'm thinking that's still increased our knowledge of nature, which is not a bad thing either.
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I'm reminded of the SR-71. As a plane, on the ground, it's a disaster.. it leaks like a civ, the folds don't hold together... but as it nears the speed of sound, the ship "tightens" up, becomes sleek, and manages to hit top speeds.


    A lot of that research was done through a fluke of studying how gliders worked; a big part of the study of helicopters came from studying how tree seeds, which helped approximate lift.


    We've also studied birds, etc. Dependant on how much money they are asking for, it might be very worthwhile research, compared to costly research of "just trying something out". Sometimes, if you can find something that does what you are trying to do, it's easier/cheaper to just cheat and copy by figuring out what they are doing (reverse engineering) rather then trying to start from scratch :) A low energy UAV that could quickly change path? Interesting.
     
  5. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    If my memory serves, I believe that the SR-71's skin develops many cracks which at supersonic speeds heal themselves. The SR-71 just plain looks fast sitting on the ground. I believe it was considered a very successful aircraft yet it had a short service lifespan.
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    If you are a fan of the SR-71 you may want one of these babies:

    http://www.sleddriver.com/
     
  7. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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  8. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    The cracks in the skin plating (and even fuel tanks) of the SR-71 are by design. As the plane takes flight and flies faster and faster...it heats up dramatically. Thus, the skin of the aircraft needs the room for expansion as its temperature rises. Those cracks seal up tight as the aircraft heats up and its skin expands.

    It is also why the plan has to re-fuel in the air immediately after take-off...because almost all of its fuel is either used during the afterburner take-off...or it has leaked out while taxing on the runway.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    This is pretty cool too:

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/13/darpas-msee-to-develop-new-mathematical-language-race-of-senti/
     

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