uah p 18008

Docket: UAH-P-18008

Technology

Mars is the next frontier for space exploration. Within the next decade, many experts believe there will be manned missions to Mars. Once humans arrive on Mars, one of the many challenges will be transportation on the planet. Currently there are no methods for aerial travel around Mars; all travel would be accomplished with wheeled ground vehicles. Even though Mars’ gravity is significantly lower than that of the Earth, the density of the air on Mars is 1% of Earth’s atmospheric density, making aerial travel very challenging.

Researchers at UAH have developed a novel method of flying through Mars’ atmosphere, which not only achieves flight, but also drastically reduces energy consumption. This is accomplished with biomimicry, or engineering that uses concepts derived from a natural system. With this technology, flight is achieved via a method similar to how insects fly on Earth.

Flight on Mars with this technology is realized through a rapid flapping motion of the wings. The power requirements for this flight system are greatly reduced by using a torsional spring at the base of the wings to harvest kinetic energy and reuse it. This torsional spring stores the energy from the wing returning to its fixed position and uses it to provide energy to push the wing back down. With the addition of the torsional spring, flight times are five times longer and power requirements are one tenth of the power without it. This technology developed at UAH allows for efficient and effective aerial travel on Mars.

Applications

  • Mars aerial travel
  • Flight
  • Biomimicry

Advantages

  • Power savings
  • Allows flight on Mars
  • Increased flight time

Status

  • State of Development: Proof of Concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for Licensing
  • Patent Status: Proprietary