NASA GETS IN ON THE SEARCH AND RESCUE GAME TO FURTHER SPACE EXPLORATION

On May 30th, 2013, NASA test launched their robotic prototype known as the 'Mighty Eagle.' Oddly enough, this lander was named after a character in the hugely popular Angry Birds game. The aim of the craft is to assist in search and rescue missions, helping to find plane crashes and missing persons when a larger plane is unable to do the trick.

This 700lb lander is about eight feet in diameter and four feet tall. It was designed by Marshall's Aero-M Team, as part of the 2012 Unmanned Aerial Systems Competition, which tasked engineers and hobbyists with building a vehicle that could be used during unmanned search and rescue missions.

The lander uses linear actuators to control the legs during takeoff and landing and the high-definition cameras attached to it. It was originally built with a two-megapixel camera, but has since been upgrade with a high-definition GoPro video camera. Initially, the entire lander was built using hobby-grade parts and a flight computer for motion control. The system autonomously functions to perform search and rescue missions using this computer.

The craft is fueled by 90% hydrogen peroxide, the same stuff the some use to bleach their hair blonde. Hydrogen peroxide has a ton of uses, one of them being a propellant.

Ideally, NASA would like to send this small lander out to the moon to perform exploration and surface experiments. They are looking to develop a whole new line of versatile, compact robots capable of performing these experiments. The Mighty Eagle also has a bigger brother, named the Project Morpheus prototype lander are the first two small, unmanned vehicles of their kind, so don't be surprised if you see more in the years to come.

The video below demonstrates a test flight of the system, and if you didn't know better, you might even mistake it for a craft belonging to an extra-terrestrial. The Mighty Eagle will be tested again soon in July. It is getting an upgrade that will help it to detect hazards and avoid them.

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