NASA To Explore Jupiter Using “Windbot” That Would Float Forever Around The Planet
NASA is currently contemplating the idea of how it could explore the gas giants like Jupiter where there is no solid surface to land on or water to swim in.
A team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) believes one possible way to do so is building a “windbot” – machine that would be able harness the power of Jupiter’s turbulent winds, while staying afloat on its surface without needing fuel.
According to researchers, wind on Jupiter frequently changes direction and intensity. So the best way for any form of stability that wants to remain in the planet’s atmosphere for extended periods of time is to make use of the energy caused by turbulence.
Adrian Stoica, principal investigator for the windbots study, says the idea of harvesting the wind energy in this case is similar to how some wristwatches are powered by shaking them.
For now, windbot is just a concept. Stoica and his team is currently working out to figure out how the bot will look like although they have got some potentially viable ideas – the basic model for the windbot would be something like a dandelion seed.
“A dandelion seed is great at staying airborne,” Stoica said in a statement. “It rotates as it falls, creating lift, which allows it to stay afloat for long time, carried by the wind. We’ll be exploring this effect on windbot designs.”
NASA further notes that if they manage to design a working model, windbots could be used even here on Earth, where they could help monitor hurricanes and other turbulent weather events.