Learning About Flying Drones for Science

Drones are highly versatile tools. These aerial robots have been used for purposes such as delivering packages, combating fires, conducting surveillance, and capturing footage for movies. In recent years, they have also been deployed for various scientific endeavors.

Among the most popular scientific applications of drones is the study and conservation of wildlife. Researchers have utilized drones to observe whale behavior, including their feeding habits, vocalizations, and respiration. Drones have also been employed to monitor endangered monkeys and orangutans, as well as to identify and deter poachers who pose a threat to rhinos and protected bird species.

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Furthermore, scientists are exploring the potential of drones in the field of agriculture. Equipped with sensors, drones can fly over fields to detect signs of plant dehydration or identify pollutants. They could even administer medication to crops affected by disease, all from an aerial perspective.

The applications of drones in scientific research are extensive. They can be employed to collect air samples during forest fires, facilitating the study of smoke-borne microorganisms. Additionally, drones have the capability to 3-D print structures that may eventually be utilized in extraterrestrial habitats. If you had the opportunity to fly a drone anywhere in the world, what would you choose to study? The possibilities are boundless!

Curious to learn more? Check out these stories:

Meet the avian-inspired robots aiding bird conservation A new generation of robots designed to resemble birds is helping scientists gain insights into and safeguard wild avian species. (112/2023) Readability: 7.3

Using drones to safeguard endangered wildlife Drones have proven to be invaluable assets in conservation efforts worldwide. These flying robots, combined with artificial intelligence, assist scientists in studying and protecting endangered animals. (3/10/2022) Readability: 7.1

Exploring the microbial composition of wildfire smoke Drones are aiding researchers in collecting air samples from the smoke of forest fires. (9/2/2021) Readability: 7.9

In 2011, Lian Pin Koh and Serge Wich piloted one of the world’s first conservation drones over Sumatra, an Indonesian island. During their mission, they observed the land usage patterns of the island’s inhabitants and encountered an orangutan nest nestled atop a towering tree.

Discover more:

Scientists Say: Drought

Scientists Say: Pollution

Insect-inspired drones collaborate to 3-D print structures

Drones may soon capture dolphins’ breath in midair

A microscopic tool capable of detecting contaminants and more

Whale weighing with the aid of drones

How to identify if a drone is surveilling you

Robots poised to revolutionize the food industry

Preparing for drone exploration of Mars

Ingenuity helicopter achieves history-making flight on Mars

Heat signatures aid in the detection of old and still-dangerous landmines


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Interested in constructing your own drone? Take advantage of this step-by-step guide from Science Buddies!

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