Dec 2 - The future of aeronautics may lie in Southeast Asia's jungles, say scientists studying gliding abilities of tree-dwelling snakes. The team, working with National Geographic, is researching how the reptiles ''fly''. Rob Muir reports.
▲ Hide Transcript
▶ View Transcript
Christopher -- a -- C is better known as the flying snake for good reason. It's a study in gliding efficiency. Taking to the air by simply -- itself from its perch in the treetops to its destination. Biologist -- is so taken by this next he's devoted much of his professional life to studying. They can't fly like a burger battered insects they can't go up. They can only go down and so really they're they're glider. With a grant from the National Geographic Society so and his team traveled to Singapore. They built a fifteen meter high tower as part of an ambitious experiment to learn more about the forces that allow the -- to glide with such apparent eighties. With the tower built and ready and -- strategically placed cameras rolling so Obama launched his snakes. The recordings revealed that while the snakes are unable to resist gravity they reconfigure themselves to counteract it for long enough to travel for more than twenty meters in some cases. The recordings also allowed the scientists to build accurate computer reconstruction. Of the snakes anatomy is it moves through the. When it jumps into the air that takes its body and it goes from from being circular. Going cross section to -- -- that is much more flat. Given that it does. Behavior really is it is it undulating there. So when you see the animal gliding it's been really looks like it's it's it's swimming through the air. And it might be it in essence sort of surfing the waves that it's creating. The waves of -- that it's pushing backward. The snakes gliding abilities present interesting possibilities for future aircraft according to so house colleagues and engineering student Dan hold. When you typically think of via flying vehicles that we design they always have wings to produce lists so. Understanding what the -- is doing can have a significant. Impact on the field of aerodynamics. And totally. Become a completely different designs and what we're used to making and possibly increase the controlled instability of this vehicles. While Chris apparently a parodies seem not very well hold the key to the next generation of flying machines -- so high and Dan -- site. They're fascinating in their -- it. -- -- --