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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Defense Dept. Studying Flying Snakes

Flying Snakes Studied by Scientists for DARPA (Video)

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: Nov 24, 2010 Last Updated: Nov 26, 2010

Flying snakes are being studied for their gliding ability.
The US Department of Defense is looking to research into why a certain type of snake found in Asia can glide in the air for a relatively long period of time, according to the Washington Post.

Virginia Tech scientists are looking to snakes from the genus Chrysopelea, a tree-dwelling variety from Southeast Asia and India.

The research team, led by Virginia Tech biologist Jake Socha, found that snakes launch themselves from branches and are able to flatten their bodies and glide from one tree to another or to the ground.

The snakes undulate back and forth to create a sort of gliding motion in mid-air, allowing them to move at a constant velocity and angle from the horizon, Socha said.

"The snake is pushed upward—even though it is moving downward—because the upward component of the aerodynamic force is greater than the snake's weight," Socha said in a statement.

The effect of the glide, which was captured on video, is only temporary, but is "quite an impressive feat for a snake," he added. Eventually, the snake would hit the ground.

According to the Post, the snakes can even turn in midair.

The military research group, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is partially funding theresearch and has great interest in Socha's findings, he told the newspaper.


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