With the planned launch date simply sixteen months away, excitement is growing among area fans trying forward to the Mars 2020 mission.
After saying the no-hit debut take a look at drive of the Mars 2020 rover last week, NASA followed abreast of Th, March 28, with news of the terribly 1st flight trials of the particular Mars helicopter which will accompany the rover on its journey to the terrestrial planet next year.
“The next time we have a tendency to fly, we have a tendency to fly Mars,” same MiMi Aung, project manager for the Mars helicopter at NASA’s reaction propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in city, California, wherever the take a look at flights occurred.
The autonomous flying machine can facilitate NASA to search out attention-grabbing analysis sites on Mars, and additionally give knowledge for mapping routes for future rovers on the Martian surface.
Its performance on the world will facilitate NASA to refine the aircraft’s style so it will produce a lot of capable helicopters for Mars and alternative planetary missions.
The diminutive helicopter tips the scales at simply four pounds (1.8 kg) and options four rotors, each a touch over a meter long. At its core may be a little, box-like body, and it’s here wherever you’ll realize the machine’s downward-facing camera. star cells and batteries be sure of the helicopter’s power desires, whereas an indoor heater ought to facilitate it deal with the planet’s dramatic come by temperature at the hours of darkness.
The recent Mars helicopter take a look at occurred within JPL’s area machine, a 25-foot-wide (7.62-meter-wide) chamber. to form conditions the same as those found on Mars, the team ready the chamber by uptake out all the element, oxygen, and alternative gases from the air within, before commutation it with greenhouse emission, the chief ingredient of Mars’ atmosphere.
It additionally had to search out the way to simulate the weaker gravity found on Mars.
“To actually simulate flying on Mars we’ve got to require away common fraction of Earth’s gravity, as a result of Mars’ gravity is that a lot of weaker,” same Teddy Tzanetos, take a look at conductor for the Mars helicopter at JPL.
It was able to accomplish this with the creation of a supposed “gravity offload system” — a motorized lanyard hooked up to the highest of the helicopter to produce associate degree uninterrupted tug corresponding to common fraction of Earth’s gravity.
Two take a look at flights occurred, each taking the helicopter to associate degree altitude of a mere two inches, that was enough for the team to verify that it might fly autonomously in a very skinny, Mars-like atmosphere.
The Mars helicopter can launch with the rover on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in Gregorian calendar month next year and is predicted to achieve the distant planet in Gregorian calendar month 2021.
Commenting on its high-tech craft last year, NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen said: “We have already got nice views of Mars from the surface yet as from orbit. With the else dimension of a bird’s-eye read from a ‘Marscopter,’ we will solely imagine what future missions will accomplish.”