From ancient dragon mythology to the lesser offerings from Samuel L. Jackson's body of work, mankind has long shown an apprehension toward – one might even say a phobia of – airborne snakes. Perhaps it's the ability of these flying reptiles to strike fear into even the steeliest of human hearts that has the Pentagon interested in just exactly how these snakes perform their aerial acrobatics.
The snakes – which hail from Southeast Asia and India mostly and are of the Chrysopelea genus – are the subject of intense study by Virginia Tech researcher John Socha, but for a biologist he has an interesting backer in DARPA, the DoD's blue-sky research arm. DARPA naturally is tight-lipped about its interest in flying snakes, but its dollars are helping Socha create 3-D reconstructions of the biology and physics involved, research that is being published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biometrics.
How do the snakes do it? The don't really fly, per se, but rather fall with purpose. The snakes climb to the tops of the tallest trees, some 200 feet in the air, and then take a leap. But their method for turning their elongated forms into aerodynamic vehicles is pretty amazing, allowing them to travel nearly 800 feet laterally as they descend. They do this by first falling to pick up speed, then by initiating a strange aerial dance that essentially turns their bodies into one long wing. Some of them can actually pull off a turn in the air.
We've saved you the trouble of a YouTube search below. Try not to become mesmerized by the snakes' fluid motion and seeming ability to cheat gravity. We dare you.
New one on me...most snakes in the swamps of the U.S. only jump off a spot above grade when they see escape as their only option (they always try to strike prey when mounted upon a solid object). I wonder if any hunt using the "flying" method-it sure would put them at a great stategic advantage!
Bad-ass snakes!!! I can definately see DARPA using this trait to make some kind of snake-gliding missle to launch from a high up drone or something.
It looks almost like an air-screw motion.
Woody: "Th-that's not flying.... That's... falling with style!"
I believe the Scientific term is gliding.
Moose and Snake ?
One might surmise, that if a mechanical version were to be able do do the same thing, only MUCH faster, it might be able to sustain flight, in total silence. It would also be extremely (RADAR) stealthy and it's would likely prove more evasive and difficult to see or track ...
.... It clearly can move on land ... could prolly slide thru water (moccasan), as well.
It can climb trees ... Infiltrate air vents ... Slither up anchor and mooring lines ... navigate sewers and plumbing ... can cooperate, in swarms. ... Hide in plain sight. Can be painted to look like pipes and cables. Could slide down your home toilet vent and out your toilet ... chew a hole in the underside of a sofa or bed-springs and just hang out.
Could also prove fun at pajama parties.
... Land, Sea, Air, Stealth ... What more could a girl ask for?
What about a pizeoelectric missle? It could change shape in mid-air, and fly much more efficently than a normal missle. Another thing would be a pizeoelectric robot snake, allowing for a more mobile snake robot. Parachutes for quick escapes would not be bad either. But this is just speculation.
I doubt this could lead to sustained flight. Swimming and slithering snake robots have already been built. I imagine they want to build a robot snake that can be air-dropped over enemy territory to engage in surveillance or perhaps attack a single combatant. Equipped with night vision, a great way to go after people holed up caves.
They are making SIDEWINDER missiles!
I've been wondering if we are at the point of being able to make a solar and helium piezoelectric wing that has a basic air density tracking program allowing it to climb to space?
Got to agree with all of you guys. That isn't flying, but it IS totally kick-ass. Even if I suffer from herpetophobia, this is awesome. It seems to be partially kinetic-energy-powered, and I'm not talking about the energy generated by gravity; the snake is throwing it's weight forward, thus propelling itself in a manner similar to a person dangling from their ankles by a rope. I can see this being integrated into an experimental fighter-plane.The "S-14 Copperhead". Top Fang! Highway to the Slither-Zone!
So THAT'S how the mother effing snakes got on the mother effing plane!
Bad puns, dodgey word-wizardry, groan-worthy movie references and such aside, this could be a very nimble fighter. It could even become the world's only true ATV, capable of traveling in water, over and under land, and through the air. Maybe even the first aircraft that has the ability to go from flight to darting around underwater with little to no transition time. I must begin work on this immediately!
during flight, it looks like the snake uses its tail like a slingshot to create a forward motion, you can clearly see the tail being pretty long and thin with some sort of weight at the end.
For years the Chinese have studied the art of making the body lighter than air and only very few have found that path to inlightenment due to how difficult it is to bring your mind to that state .All of us have the ability but only few will achieve this state without some heavy drugs