NASA Plans Sending An Experimental Helicopter Drone Along With the Mars 2020 Rover

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NASA plans to send a special helicopter drone to the Red Planet. The device will join the Mars 2020 rover, and it has already passed a selection of trials which infer that the initiative will be quite successful.

The tests which took place in January involved the use of a chamber which simulated the atmospheric conditions found on Mars. The engineers wanted to see if the helicopter was able to fly in an atmosphere which is substantially thinner in comparison to the one found here on Earth.

The initial test was passed with flying colors, and the device was sent to the Lockheed Martin facility located in Colorado. The helicopter drone underwent a complex array of experiments which involved a large number of factors.

Among the tests, there was one for flight vibrations and shock, to see if the internal mechanism and the attachments mounted on the device will be able to withstand the shock which occurs when it will be launched and upon entering the Martian atmosphere.

Mars 2020 rover will carry this experimental helicopter drone to the Red Planet

Every test went according to plan, and the device was returned to the NASA Jet Propulsion laboratory which can be found in Pasadena, California.

A solar panel was mounted on the top of the device, and the rotors were spun in an attempt to verify that more than 1,5000 individual pieces of carbon fiber, copper foil, high-quality aluminum, and aerogel will work as one functional unit.

This version of the Mars 2020’s helicopter drone will serve as a tech demo, and it will not carry advanced scientific instruments. The main goal is to find out if a flying device of this type will be feasible on Mars. The Martian atmosphere features a density which is equal to one percent of our planet’s atmosphere. While a scientific payload is missing the drone will carry a camera which should provide valuable images.

The project manager, Mimi Aung, said during a press interview that the drone would be integrated within the rover during the summer. The Mars 2020 will carry a selection of new instruments which should provide new information.


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