Researchers are currently designing an extremely unusual but still awesome spacecraft for NASA. The spacecraft resembles a stingray, but it's not all just for show.
Researchers out of the University of Buffalo are designing the Bio-inspired Ray for Extreme Environments and Zonal Explorations (BREEZE). This is a project that has been selected by NASA to receive funding as it has the potential of changing space exploration forever. The researchers designing the spacecraft are envisioning a morphing spacecraft that can flap its wings and make efficient use of the high winds that are in Venus' upper atmosphere.
Researchers are planning on having BREEZE circumnavigate Venus every four to six days, with solar panels also located on the hull it can charge over two to three days on the planets illuminated side. This solar energy would be stored and then power the other instruments that will take atmospheric samples, track weather patterns, monitor volcanic activity, and more.
Javid Bayandor, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said, "By taking our cues from nature, specifically sea rays, we're looking to maximize flight efficiency. The design will allow for a so-far unattained degree of control for such a spacecraft that would be subject to severe zonal and meridional winds on the planet."
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