Sunday, November 28, 2010

snakes alive

(photo from Wikipedia)
This was actually an article I saw a few days ago in the "Weird News" section of AOL, about this genus of gliding snakes. National Geographic did a thing on Chrysopelea snakes, trying to scientifically figure out how these snakes can basically launch themselves out of a tree and glide 800+ feet to the next one. Turns out they sorta flatten themselves out and do a funky little sidewinder-esque undulation thing, squiggling about in the air, which makes their entire body kinda like one big wing that propels them through the air. Obviously, they don't fly, they glide, but still. That's really cool.
(photo from flyingsnakes.org)
And they're cool-looking, too :)

Apparently the Pentagon is looking to these snakes for a future aircraft design. Though I'm not sure how that'd be at all efficient, particularly if there was a pilot that had to man the craft amidst all that squiggling...

4 comments:

Laura said...

Is it bad that I think it's ridiculous about scientists being all "Ooh! What makes these snakes fly?!" Um... I kinda knew about the flattening/squiggling when I was a weird little fourth grader that watched Animal Planet. I already knew how they did it.

Laura said...

I mean, it was kinda obvious...

fencer_22 said...

hmm well if the head remains stationary then the basic concept could be use for aircraft however it would not be able to fly useing the traditional jet engine which is either built into or mounted on a rigid structure (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong David) but they could learn various things about the airodynamic shape and lift from studying these snakes ability to fall with style.

mandachan said...

dude, it's an old study, like 2005 or earlier. they're just trying to find practical applications.