Mars is an object of interest for many space agencies, and NASA has spent a lot of resources on projects which aimed to provide more information about the planet. Besides the Mars 2020 rover, NASA will also send a helicopter drone which should land on the planet in 2021.
The drone has passed a large number of critical tests, but NASA is currently working on some fine details before the journey will begin.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory installed a custom solar panel on the device, which should provide plenty of power as the drone explores the Martian surface. Initial tests prove that it should be capable of flight through the significantly thinner atmosphere.
The fact that Mars isn’t flat, logically, has brought several challengings regarding the ground-based rovers that NASA sent on the Red Planet. Curiosity, Opportunity, and Spirit faced some challenges as they traveled from one objective to another, but in time, they will sustain damage which may compromise them in the long run.
NASA will send a helicopter drone along with Mars 2020 for a better exploration of the Red Planet
The Mars 2020’s helicopter drone doesn’t have to deal with the treacherous soil, and it can be used for a variety of features, including the scouting of important areas, cave exploration, and the ability to reach places which are beyond the limits of the land-based devices.
The first incarnation of the device will not be able to perform any experiments since it was developed as a tech demo, which should prove that flying robots can function adequately on Mars. If everything goes according to plan, NASA may send advanced flying drones in the future.
While scientific instruments are missing the small helicopter drone will carry a high-resolution camera which should send valuable images, including shots of the Mars atmosphere.
Most of the tests have been passed, but a final set needs to be completed before the helicopter can be added to the rover project at some point in the summer. Simulations infer that the chance of success is quite high, but the real challenge comes from bringing the drone into the air after a successful landing.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.