NASA Tests a Helicopter Drone For Mars Mission

NASA has announced the new Mars Mission – Mars 2020. NASA is planning to launch the 2020 Mars’ rover mission with more sophisticated equipment. NASA has been successful with the Curiosity rover mission and now, the Space Association is working on a new rover. The rover might be much similar to the Curiosity rover with an aerial companion similar to a helicopter. The Mars copter is being tested by the NASA JPL Engineers, for its capability to reach the destination to Mars and increase the scope of knowledge in science.

According to Extreme Tech, the heart of the robot is a cube weighing 2.2 pounds and has blades that are 3.6 feet from end to end. The robot can fly for two or three minutes at a time and cover about half a kilometer i.e. one-third of a mile. In addition to being solar powered, it is equipped with wide-angle cameras like a GoPro. Such features help NASA in finding the quintessential routes for the rover to take across the Martian landscape. With this, the rover can cover three times more territory each day.

NASA Tests a Helicopter Drone For Mars Mission

Besides designing a solar-powered flying machine, the engineers must have an automated design to ensure the safe landing on Mars. Due to Mars’ thin atmosphere, the idea of flying is challenging when the flying drone cannot be repaired or flipped over from millions of miles away. Hence, the Curiosity rover needed a rocket to land the rover safely on the Red Planet. There would not be enough time to make changes from millions of miles by humans, during an erroneous situation.

Though a fixed-wing craft has a greater power efficiency, it needs to huge to get enough lift to fly. On the contrary, a helicopter would be ideal because it can generate enough lift with smaller propellers that spin faster. Though NASA is conducting more and more tests on the rover, there might not be any assurance of success or failure, as a matter of fact.

Author: @SujanaOruganti

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