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Florida professor designs self-propelled flying saucer

A professor at the University of Florida is designing a "flying saucer" that will propel itself using electrodes th...


A professor at the University of Florida is designing a “flying saucer” that will propel itself using electrodes that cover its surface. Using an onboard source of energy such as a battery or solar panel, the electrodes will ionize the surrounding air into plasma, causing the plasma to push against the air around the craft and propelling it upwards or sideways.
The designer, mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor Subrata Roy, hopes to have a small demonstration model of around 15 centimetres diameter ready this year. Theoretically Roy believes the “wingless electromagnetic air vehicle” could be scaled up to ferry people around, but the key factor is finding a power source and material that is lightweight and yet sturdy.
Source: Scientific American on-line, July 7, 2008. “The World’s First Flying Saucer: Made Right Here on Earth,” by Larry Greenemeier.