There is only so much Mars a rover can see from the ground. A drone scout could let the rover grasp further, so NASA’s at work on a small flying robot copter for an upcoming Mars mission. Drones are corroborating themselves cheap and handy on Earth, so it’s expected to think they might come handy on Mars too. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory just published a video about their Mars Helicopter, aimed to do just that.
The biggest challenge: while Martian gravity is fewer than that of Earth, Martian atmosphere is a lot thinner. A fixed-wing drone on Mars would have to go fast to produce the kind of lift required to stay airborne, which in result would likely need excessive amounts of fuel or battery power. In its place, NASA is considering a copter, with two revolving rotors going 2400 rpm.
Around the size of a tissue box, the copter would have a solar panel on top to charge it every day, and then hover for just a few minutes and no further than a third of a mile at a time, cameras on board studying the landscape to better plot the rovers’ next path before returning to land on the rover itself. If the drone works, and if it discovers its way onto the next Mars rover, humanity may soon be studying the red planet from the air--or what passes for air.
Watch the video below:
This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook