Nasa prepares drone for 2020 Mars rover mission

May 13, 2018, 14:14
Nasa prepares drone for 2020 Mars rover mission

Mars 2020 is planned for launch in July 2020 with an arrival on the surface of Mars expected in February 2021.

NASA has confirmed it is sending an autonomous helicopter to Red Planet that will travel with the Mars rover mission, now scheduled to launch in July 2020. According to NASA employees, at the moment, the experts identified the main scientific tasks for the helicopter, but the idea of flying such a device on another planet is just fascinating.

On Friday NASA officials confirmed that they are planning to fly a light and small helicopter to Mars. It is specifically created to fly in the atmosphere of Mars, which is 100 times thinner than Earth's. It will also have to be completely autonomous because commands take a long time to reach Mars from Earth.

Instruments aboard the Mars rover will collect rock and soil samples and encase them in sealed tubes to be left on the surface for potential return to Earth. Its fuselage is about the size of a softball, and its twin, counter-rotating blades will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at nearly 3,000 rpm, which is about 10 times the rate of a normal helicopter on Earth.

The remote-controlled Mars Helicopter, created to take flight in the thin Martian atmosphere with twin counter-rotating blades, weighs about four pounds (1.8 kilograms), with a fuselage the size of a softball, NASA said. NASA also packed in a heating mechanism to help the drone survive the frigid Mars nights.

"We don't have a pilot and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time". When the vagabond come down on the earth's surface area, it will certainly after that locate a great location to put down the helicopter, release it, and afterwards roll away. "The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars". The first will go up about 10 feet and hover for 30 seconds.

"The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers", said NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the science mission directorate. "With the added dimension of a bird's-eye view from a 'marscopter, ' we can only imagine what future missions will achieve".

If the helicopter does not work, the Mars project will not fail.

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