(UWIRE)- A University of Florida professor is working toward developing the mothership of science-fiction aficionados’ dreams: a real flying saucer.
Subrata Roy, a mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor, has designed a disk “shaped aircraft that he calls the “wingless electromagnetic air vehicle,” or WEAV. The patent for the aircraft, which will measure less than six inches across, is still pending.
Ideally, Roy’s aircraft could be used to fly through other planets’ atmospheres and explore extraterrestrial terrain. It could also be employed for more practical uses, such as surveillance and navigation purposes.
“This has nothing to do with aliens,” Roy said. “This is more of science than fiction.”
Put simply, the force that makes the aircraft hover is created when a magnetic field is passed through plasma, the force of which swirls the surrounding air and creates enough momentum to lift the craft, according to a Wednesday UF news release.
The disk will be capable of rotating, but it will not have to spin in order to fly.
In fact, there are no moving parts in the design, Roy said.
If the project gets off the ground, the design could be equipped with a camera for surveillance on Earth and in space.
However, there are still a few obstacles that could keep Roy’s aircraft from taking off.
Researchers have attempted to use plasma technology with conventional aircrafts in the past, but they have not been successful, Roy said.
The craft will also need a battery that is both powerful and light. Creating such a battery is not an impossible feat, he said, but it still needs to be developed.
NASA and the U.S. Air Force are interested in using the craft if Roy’s disc is developed, according to the release.
“I don’t see any limitation to what it can do, but we can only get that far when we develop the first craft,” Roy said.
The next step in getting the WEAV off the ground is finding sponsors and getting a team together to create a model for testing, which Roy hopes to do by fall.
“Theory works, so hopefully it won’t be a big challenge,” he said. “But if it is a big challenge, we will find a way to solve it.”