NASA intends to send a helicopter to Mars
Along with NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, a helicopter – a small, autonomous rotorcraft that will explore the planet from the air – will fly to the Red Planet. Such flying vehicles could change the future of exploring new worlds.
NASA wants to test howob Heavier-than-air vehicles will prove themselves on Mars. – The idea of a helicopter flying across the sky of another planet is exciting. A helicopter on Mars is a promising device for our future science and exploration missions to the Red Planet – said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Flying machine technology projects on alien planets have been under development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2013. The Martian helicopter, above all, had to be small in sizeow and weigh little. The result of the four-year project is a small helicopter weighing less than two kilograms (1.8 pounds).
The fuselage of the helicopter is slightly larger than a tennis ball. Its counter-rotating lobes will reach speeds of nearly 3,000 rpm in the thin Martian atmosphereow per minute. It’s about 10 times faster than Earth’s helicopters.
– Exploring the Red Planet by helicopter represents a successful combination of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to accelerate Mars exploration – Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA pointed out. – After the Wright brothers proved 117 years ago that long-duration, controlled flight was possible here on Earth, another group of American pioneersow can prove that the same can be done on another planet – he added.
Of course, NASA’s machine contains all the necessary tools for survival on Mars. It has solar cells to charge lithium-ion batteries. It also has heating so that during cold Martian nights, when temperatures drop to more than minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be heated. As a result of the high temperature of the Celsius temperature, electronic systems do not freeze up.
– The altitude record for a helicopter flying here on Earth is about 12 kilometersow. The atmosphere of Mars is only one percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, so when our helicopter reaches the surface of Mars, it’s already as if it were at an altitude of 30 kilometersow on Earth – said Mimi Aung of JPL, whoora was involved in designing the helicopter. She added that with such low atmospheric density, project work was not easy.
– Earth will be a few light minutes away, so there is no way to control the machine in real time. Helicopter will move in autonomous mode. It will be able to receive and interpret commands from Earth and then carry out the mission autonomously – emphasized Aung.
As a technology demonstrator, the Mars helicopter is considered a high-risk project, but its potential could bring many benefits. In its first 30 days on Mars, the helicopter will be tested in every possible way. At this time is to make probne takeoffs and five flightsow at increasing distances.
If the helicopter fails the test, it will not affect the head of theowny mission. If, on the other hand, everything goes according to plan, these types of helicopters could have a viable future as low-flying reconnaissance machines on future missions to other worlds. First of all, because they can easily access sites to which theor which cannot be reached by land.
– Ability to see what lies behind the next wzgocraft, is crucial for future discoveriesow. Already our rovers and orbiters are providing us with great viewsoin from the Red Planet. Our „Marsocopter” will add an extra dimension to the viewow from a bird’s eye view – admitted Zurbuchen.
The Mars 2020 mission is scheduled for launch in July 2020. It is expected to reach Mars in February 2021. The rover flying with this mission will conduct geological assessments of Mars landing sites. It will also look for tracesoin ancient life on Mars and will assess natural resources and threats to future explorersow.