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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

WindBots: persistent in-situ science explorers for gas giants

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

WindBots: persistent in-situ science explorers for gas giants
We envision persistent exploration of the gas giants with robots powered by locally harvested energy, performing in-situ observational atmospheric science. Riding strong, turbulent windstorms of the troposphere, WindBots (WBs) tumble and are bumped around. Real-time control is used to adjust body shape/surface asymmetries for controlled aerodynamic forces, changing direction or lift. Autorotation and mechanisms similar to those used in kinetic/automatic watches are used to harvest wind energy. They obtain electric power via electromagnetic generators. They can also deploy retractable electrodynamic tethers to harvest the planetary magnetic field. More »

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