US scientists have developed the Mars Exploration helicopter

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently announced that is developing a small unmanned helicopter, used to explore the way for future Mars probe.

US scientists have developed the Mars Exploration helicopter

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing a small unmanned helicopter has been used for future Mars rover navigation.


According to foreign media reports, NASA ‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing new UAV has been, for the future of Mars route guidance. Reasons for the development of this machine is the navigator because it is too difficult driving on Mars.

On Earth, for exploring the volcano or assist rescue robot can achieve remote control. This is because almost instantaneously transmit radio signals from the control center to the robot. Remote control on the moon is not difficult to radio signal propagation speed of light only takes about 2.5 seconds to be able to achieve a roundtrip between Earth and the moon. This delay is not sufficient for remotely serious interference. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union in this way control unmanned lunar rover, and successfully explored the moon 40 km area.

But much more difficult to control, but on Mars, because it is too far away from us. Depending on the relative position between Mars and Earth, the signal needs to be achieved 8-42 minutes round trip.Preprogrammed program must be sent to the probe car, and then the probe car automatic execution.Rover can simply execute a series of commands sent on Earth run by programming, or able to use onboard navigation computer processing images captured by the camera, and the self-determination of the speed, to determine the obstacles and dangers. It is even possible to go to safe routes to draw specific objectives.

Earth action according to the instruction is transmitted most rapidly. Spirit and Opportunity Mars rover in this way can travel 124 meters in one hour. But this model is the most insecure. If the rover camera images to guide their own initiative, action will be more secure, but more slowly because all the images need to be addressed. This mode of operation for the next hour only travel 10 meters, when the rover’s front line because of the terrain is not clear when it will have to use this model.

Curiosity traveled 144 meters in a single day, one-day Opportunity traveling a distance of 224 meters.If the ground commander can get a better route in advance, they can edit the command make future Mars rover for greater mobility in a single day. So scientists have proposed the idea of ​​unmanned helicopter. This UAV can fly every day in front of rover. Advantages aerial images allow ground commanders planned travel route to scientific objectives.

On Mars face particular challenges. On the one hand, only 38% of the Earth’s gravity on Mars, so the helicopter on the planet does not need to produce the same suspension force. And the propeller blades of the helicopter buoyancy by pushing air down, which is more difficult to control on Mars, because the thin Martian atmosphere than Earth hundreds of times. Therefore, only select the propeller blades rotate faster or design is very huge.

UAV must be able to use their own instruction set in advance to take off, and the specified stability along the route of flight. It must also be repeated in the rugged surface of Mars takeoff and landing. It must be able to survive under harsh conditions on Mars, where nighttime temperatures can plummet to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

JPL engineers designed a mass of one kilogram of unmanned helicopter, its size is only equivalent to a tissue box. Propeller length reached 1.1 meters, turn 3,400 rpm. This is a solar-powered unmanned aircraft, so it must have enough battery power every day for supporting 2-3 minutes of flight, as well as heating the night every day. It is about half a kilometer radius of each operation, the image it gets passed on to the ground control center. Engineers are expected to advance UAV detection for setting rover route is very valuable.

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