NASA agrees to fly helicopter demo on Mars 2020

12 May, 2018, 23:14 | Author: Chad Warren
  • Уфологи обнаружили на Марсе мертвого пришельца принесенного в жертву

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in California, have been working on the Mars helicopter since 2013, but its late addition to the 2020 Mars rover mission came as a surprise.

Mankind takes another step in the journey to Mars as NASA sets their sights on flying a small helicopter on the Red Planet by 2020.

"NASA has a proud history of firsts", NASA's administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said in a statement. Now, it wants to prove that it can sustainably fly around the planet's thin atmosphere at low altitude - with a tiny helicopter. "The Mars Helicopter holds much guarantee for our future scientific research, exploration, as well as expedition objectives to Mars".

"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". During the flight demonstrations, the helicopter's twin, counter-rotating blades will cut through the Martian atmosphere at nearly 3,000 rpm-about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth.

The strategy is for the Mars Helicopter to fly affixed to the bottom of the Mars 2020 vagabond.

NASA sees Mars Helicopter as demonstrating the ability of such vehicles to serve as scouts for future rover missions. After placing the helicopter on the ground, the rover will be directed to drive to a safe distance to relay commands. Once there, the chopper needs to find a suitable location, charge its batteries, complete all necessary tests and then, if all goes well, the aircraft will perform its first autonomous flight in history. The mission is scheduled to take off on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and reach Mars in February 2021.

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Because Earth will be several light minutes away, "there is no way to joystick this mission in real time", Aung said. Then the rover will move away, and the aerial vehicle will conduct a series of at least five flight tests over 30 days of more and more further distances, up to 100 meters.

"We're very excited about this and the potential it has for opening up a whole new paradigm for how to explore Mars", said David Lavery, the program executive for solar system exploration at NASA headquarters.

If the tests work, NASA will be closer to exploring the Red Planet in a different way. Just like the twin MarCO CubeSats now on their way to the Red Planet as part of the historic InSight mission, the "marscopter" is a trailblazer meant to demonstrate that the technology can be used in exploration missions.

According to Bridenstine, the success of the "marscopter" may enable more ambitious missions in the future. The rover is created to carry out geological reports also to ascertain the habitability of this Martian environment, NASA explained.

NASA officials said the rotorcraft will reach the Red Planet's surface attached to the car-sized rover.

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