Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Space

NASA Just Unveiled This Awesome, Tiny Helicopter That Will Cruise Over Mars

NASA Just Unveiled This Awesome, Tiny Helicopter That Will Cruise Over Mars 1

NASA announced this afternoon that it plans to launch a tiny, four-pound, autonomous helicopter along with its 2020 rover mission. And if you think this sounds relatively cool, well: You’re right.

The experimental, softball-sized drone would be the first airborne vehicle to fly around within Mars’ atmosphere other than the landers that have delivered other, ground-based rovers. (At least the first vehicle that we know of.)

In order to design a flying vehicle that would actually work on another planet, NASA scientists faced a number of challenges. For example: the red planet’s particularly-weak atmosphere and the communication delay between ground control here on Earth and the rover.

Traveling at the speed of light, it’ll still take several minutes for any commands sent from Earth to reach the helicopter, so the flying rover will have to be at least partially autonomous as it provides scientists and other autonomous vehicles with the first long-term bird’s-eye view of the planet.

Also, the Martian atmosphere is practically non-existent. The air pressure at the planet’s surface is lower than it is at a helicopter’s maximum altitude when flying above Earth. In order to take off, the tiny flying robot needs to spin it’s two blades ten times faster — 3,000 times per minute — than it would on Earth while carrying batteries and other hardware crafted to be as light as possible.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

When the rover arrives at Mars in February 2021, it’ll perform scouting missions to look for ideal landing zones on the surface, as well as scan the planet for signs of life, hazards that might matter to the future astronauts who finally venture to Mars. It’ll also assist with the ongoing geology research currently underway by ground-based rovers (i.e. Curiosity and Opportunity).

NASA’s taking a big gamble on this helicopter running smoothly. Once it’s out there, it’s gonna attempt a couple test flights, the first of which will last just thirty seconds, before ramping up the scale of its missions. But if this endeavor truly takes off (sorry) it could add a valuable and revealing new dimension to space exploration missions down the road.

Source link

Comments

You May Also Like

Space

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a video and a series of posters, according to the Daily Mail. They depict planets and moons that could...

Space

People have long noticed that the Moon has the so-called phases of the Moon, on the basis of which astronomers later predicted eclipses and...

Aliens & UFO's

Ufologist, virtual archaeologist Scott Waring reported on an unusual find in the images of the lunar surface obtained by the Apollo 9 mission. According...

Space

The UAE’s Al-Amal Mars probe entered orbit around the Red Planet in February 2021. Its scientific goal is to study the atmosphere of Mars and...

Space

The Perseverance rover, sent by NASA to Mars, transmitted a photograph of the Martian rainbow to Earth. Yes, there is also a rainbow on the...

Planet Earth

In one of the most vulnerable glaciers of the South Pole of the Earth – Antarctica, a giant fissure 112 kilometers long was discovered....

Bizzare & Odd

Millions of people around the world watched the Perseverance rover broadcast an amazing 360-degree panorama of the Martian surface. Many were sure that this was...

Space

NASA showed the first images of the surface of Mars taken by the Perseverance spacecraft, which landed on the Red Planet a few hours...

Advertisement