This ‘UFO’ rover could hover on the moon and asteroids one day

An illustration of a hovering-rover concept. (Image credit: MIT)

Air is invisible but mighty: birds harness it to fly, planes on Earth and distant machines like NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on Mars work with it to soar above the surface. Now, researchers are working on a new craft that could lift off the ground with no air at all.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) want to engineer a new kind of hovering spacecraft that can operate without air. Instead of relying on air like birds and planes, it will levitate using the electric charge available from interplanetary surfaces.