Import, or export UFO?
University of Florida mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor Subrata Roy has submitted a patent application for a circular, spinning aircraft design reminiscent of the spaceships seen in countless Hollywood films. Roy, however, calls his design a "wingless electromagnetic air vehicle," or WEAV.
The proposed prototype is small - the aircraft will measure less than six inches across - and will be efficient enough to be powered by on-board batteries.
Roy said the design can be scaled up and theoretically should work in a much larger form. Even in miniature, though, the design has many uses.
The most obvious functions would be surveillance and navigation. The aircraft could be designed to carry a camera and light and be controlled remotely at great distances, he said.
Fittingly, Roy said his flying saucer one day could soar through atmospheres other than Earth's own. For example, the aircraft would be an ideal vehicle for the exploration of Titan, Saturn's sixth moon, which has high air density and low gravity, Roy said. The technology could benefit future astrobiology studies on Titan concerning the moon's organic chemistry. Studying organic chemistry on Titan could yield clues about the origin of life's precursor molecules on Earth.
Chinese company develops 'UFO': report
A Chinese company has developed a prototype flying saucer that can hover in the air and be controlled remotely from afar, state press said Tuesday.
The aircraft is 1.2 metres (four feet) in diameter and is able to take off and land vertically and hover at an altitude of up to 1,000 metres (yards), Xinhua news agency said.
The unmanned disc is driven by a propeller and can be controlled remotely or sent on a preset flight path, it said.
Its top speed is 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour, it added.
It took the Harbin Smart Special Aerocraft Co Ltd 12 years and 28 million yuan (4.1 million dollars) to develop the prototype craft, which is designed for aerial photography, geological surveys and emergency lighting, the report said.