Tiny Mars helicopter could make first aircraft launch from another planet

12 May, 2018, 20:53 | Author: Carmen Reese
  • Enlarge Image This illustration shows what the Mars Helicopter might look like as it readies for takeoff.                  NASA

Named simply the Mars Helicopter, this miniature unmanned aircraft that resembles a drone began its development in August 2013 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The small, autonomous aircraft will be blasted into space with the U.S. Space Agency's Mars Rover in July 2020, a spokesman said.

"A remote-controlled helicopter to Mars Helicopter, created to fly in the rarefied atmosphere of the red planet, weighs 1.8 kg and the size of a small ball".

Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said the mission provided "a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future".

NASA said on Friday it will send a small helicopter to Mars as part of the USA space agency's 2020 mission to place a next-generation rover on the Martian surface, marking the first time such an aircraft will be used on another world.

Mars Helicopter weighs about 1.8 kilograms and has a cubical fuselage similar in size to a softball.

The helicopter's twin blades will whirl at about 10 times the rate of a helicopter's blades on Earth - at 3,000 rpm - to stay aloft in Mars' thin atmosphere. Once there, it will use solar cells to charge its batteries and operate a built-in heater to combat frigid nighttime temperatures.

More news: North Korea Sets Date for Shutting Down Its Nuclear Test Site

It is specifically created to fly in the atmosphere of Red Planet which is 100 times thinner than Earth's.

Top reach the planet, the helicopter will be attached to the "belly pan" of the Mars 2020 rover.

BBC notes that existing vehicles on Mars have been wheeled ones bound on the planet's surface, which is prone to running into obstacles. The rover will then drive 50 to 100 metres away - close enough to stay in radio contact, far enough to not be endangered by any mishaps. Controllers from Earth will deliver commands to the helicopter to take its first autonomous flight after its batteries are charged and tests are conducted. As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk and a high-reward project.

"Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the ground, and then fly the mission on its own", she pointed out.

The "marscopter" will be one of the components of the Mars survey mission scheduled to blast off in July 2020, the USA space agency announced on Friday.

NASA sees Mars Helicopter as demonstrating the ability of such vehicles to serve as scouts for future rover missions. Indeed, future Mars settlements could be constructed within the caverns, protected from the harsh conditions of the Martian surface. "With the added dimension of a bird's-eye view from a 'marscopter, ' we can only imagine what future missions will achieve". The launch will take place at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rover is created to carry out geological studies and ascertain the habitability of the Martian environment, NASA said.

Recommended:



Popular

Capitals show no emotional letdown, take care of Lightning in Game 1
He provided a screen on the first goal, scored the second on an absolute rocket, and then picked up an assist on the fourth. The Capitals dominated in improving to 6-1 on the road this postseason, with Kempny giving them an early 1-0 lead.

Golden Knights underdogs at Winnipeg for Game 1 of Western Conference Final
The Second Round saw them play the only team that finished above them, the Presidents Trophy winning Nashville Predators. Winnipeg's top line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler scored a combined 208 points in the regular season.

Chilly start to the weekend — Metro Detroit Forecast
Today's forecast is sunny with a high near 83 and a west northwest wind of 6 to 13 miles per hour , the weather service said. Although Saturday will not be a washout, there could be several rounds of showers and thunderstorms throughout the day.

BT reveals 13000 job cuts across UK
The telecoms giant seeks to cut 1.5 billion pounds, or 2.03 billion US dollars, in costs after a torrid 18 months. The telecoms company said the job losses would come mainly from back office and middle management roles.

Actor Neha Dhupia marries Angad Bedi, see photos
While Neha was last seen in Suresh Triveni's Tumhari Sulu and Angad Bedi in Ali Abbas Zafar's Tiger Zinda Hai a year ago . I feel when you are a part of Bollywood, your life is exposed to the media.

U.S. gov gives Apple permission to use drones for Apple Maps
Similarly it said that DJI , the world's biggest non-military drone maker, made about a dozen applications but had none approved. The FAA has no requirements or voluntary standards for electrically broadcasting information to identify an unmanned aircraft.

Record-breaking Manchester City give Touré a fitting send-off
He also received a huge cheer when he picked out his winning goal against arch-rivals Manchester United in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final as his favourite moment at the club.

We've been waiting for Warriors-Rockets for what feels like forever
The Western Conference Finals get underway in the Lone Star State with the two teams that most expected to be here squaring off. Rockets star James Harden, who was kept quiet with a relatively modest haul of 18 points, paid tribute to Paul's performance.

Police parade 'NASA conmen' wearing space suits in India
Delhi Police say at least 30 people fell for the swindle, and paraded the pair in their crinkly silver outfits for the press. He further came to know that he had been cheated and the so-called scientists are members of the racket, the police said.

Nintendo Switch Online services detailed
There's more value for committing to a longer time period, though, as three months will cost $7.99, and a whole year for $19.99. These will include classics like " The Legend of Zelda ", " Mario Bros .", " Balloon Fight ", " Donkey Kong ", and many others.