According to the Smithsonian, researchers "Felix Lietchi and his colleagues at the Swiss Ornithological Institute attached electronic tags that log movement to six alpine swifts." When the tags were collected a year later, they discovered that for more than 200 days, the small birds never set foot on the ground.
Rossmanith:When we looked at the data, we were totally blown away, Lietchi said. During their non-breeding period in Africa, they were always in the air.
For more than 200 straight days straight, as revealed by his teams study published today in Nature Communications, the birds stayed aloft over West Africa. The tags only collect data every four minutes, so its impossible to rule out the chance that they touched down occasionally in between these intervalsbut every single one of the data points collected for more than six months in a row indicated that, at the time, they were either actively flying or at least gliding in the air.
Meanwhile, Titan Aerospace now offers the Solara, drones that can fly continuously for nearly five years, "charging its own battery high above commercial aircraft through the use of solar power."
The Solara series are designed to be a fraction of the cost of a satellite, but operate many similar tasks, such as surveillance, crop-monitoring, weather and disaster oversight, or any other monitoring that low-altitude satellites track.
The Solara aircraft could cost less than $2 million, according to Forbes, which quotes Dustin Sanders, Titans chief electrical engineer, as saying, Were trying to do a single-million-dollar-per-aircraft platform. And the operation cost is almost nothing youre paying some dude to watch the payload and make sure the aircraft doesnt do anything stupid.
|How to Walk the Ross Island Bridge and Not Die -- If You're Lucky (via @atul666)|
|China Tests Enclosed Maglev System|
|The Missing Link: Portable Air-Compressor Adapter For Your Bike|
|Vacationing in Afghanistan|
|"An unabashed love letter to the 1982 motion picture Blade Runner."|
|“What if energy generation was a consumer electronic you could order off Amazon?”|
|Making a Movie Inside a Video Game|
|"A helpful guide created by an unqualified individual."|
|"A real-time surveillance machine that has been developed for online advertising is rapidly expanding into other fields."|
|Fast, Clean, Cost-Effective Metal 3D-Printing|
|"You only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States."|
|“Robots should be fitted with an 'ethical black box' to keep track of their decisions.”|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|