Google Play icon

Hexacopter captures the first remote controlled aerial video footage of ALMA

Share
Posted August 26, 2013

High on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes these 58 antennae — eventually to become 66 — make up the largest astronomical project in existence, the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre array (ALMA). Now, the true magnitude of this array has been captured in full HD video as seen in this fantastic aerial footage.

This strange looking contraption is a hexacopter, installed with a camera, which can be used for radio-controlled aerial cinematography and photography. In the background the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) sprawls out across the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile soon to be photographed from above. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

This strange looking contraption is a hexacopter, installed with a camera, which can be used for radio-controlled aerial cinematography and photography. In the background the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) sprawls out across the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile soon to be photographed from above. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

In July of this year aerial photographs of ALMA were taken using a hexacopter, with exciting results. The same craft used for the aerial photography — designed to withstand the harsh conditions of this high altitude region — was then equipped with an HD camera, video stabilizer, GPS, landing gear and signal transmitter.

The craft, with six sets of rotors and all of its parts installed, weighs a total of 2.3 kilogramme. This may not seem like much but at an altitude of 5000 metres above sea level the air is so thin that an object of this weight cannot gain the height it needs. Not to mention the wind which shoves the hexacopter at speeds of up to 35 km/h. In short, getting a video at all — never mind one of this quality — is no mean feat.

Loading player…

The success of this venture was down to some innovative solutions, and a little bit of luck. In order to overcome the altitude problem the team travelled to the ALMA site very early in the morning when the air is colder, and thus more dense. The luck came with the particular stillness of the morning this footage was taken, enough calm to capture the images before winds picked up once again.

Photographer Ariel Marinkovic of X-Cam, who operated the aerial equipment, describes the moment they first captured ALMA in its full glory “We were so impressed by the incredible views of the Chajnantor Plateau displayed on the monitor: The antennas looked like small, shining specks among patches of snow, while their slow turning created a choreography as precise as its counterpart in the skies”.

Source: ESO

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
85,409 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. New treatment may reverse celiac disease (October 22, 2019)
  2. "Helical Engine" Proposed by NASA Engineer could Reach 99% the Speed of Light. But could it, really? (October 17, 2019)
  3. New Class of Painkillers Offers all the Benefits of Opioids, Minus the Side Effects and Addictiveness (October 16, 2019)
  4. The World's Energy Storage Powerhouse (November 1, 2019)
  5. Plastic waste may be headed for the microwave (October 18, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email