A new robot called ExoFly could be exploring the surface of Mars, guiding rovers through the surface of the Red Planet. Developed by scientists at the Technical University Delft, Wageningen University, and TNO in Netherlands, the ExoFly is designed to imitate the flight patterns of dragonflies. Dragonflies from 300 million years ago, because these things are huge.

Wingspan: 350mm Length: 400mm Mass: 17g Flying speed: 1.8 ms-1 Flapping frequency: 6 Hz Flying Time: 12 min Wing Material: Mylar foil Structure: balsawood Motor: 2g pager motor Camera: 1.2g pinhole camera Energy storage: 3g Li Polymer cell Actuators: shape memory alloy wires Base station: 3GHz PC Sensors: pinhole camera

Based on the DelFly, an Earth-based robot capable of autonomous flight, with hovering, take-off and landing capabilities. Scientists say the ExoFly can be adapted to fly in the more dense atmosphere of Titan too, so expect a black monolith to appear on the Moon anytime now. [New Scientist]