Giving you personal and shared information on science, technology, technical & Investments in Nigeria

“MARSCOPTER” A NEW AIR VEHICLE MADE BY NASA TO EXPLORE MARS, SEE ITS FEATURES

image

A new helicopter model called the “Marscopter” has been developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the federal agency that is responsible for aerospace research, aeronautics, and the civilian space program.

According to NASA, the new technology is expected to explore the red planet in a groundbreaking technology demonstration. It will be the first helicopter to visit the planet and the first air vehicle to fly on the surface of Mars autonomously.

The Mars helicopter will land on Mars in the year 2021 with incredible features to reveal all the astronauts need to know about the red planet. A special remotely controlled air vehicle that will be able to fly at a distance no remotely controlled aircraft in the world had ever flown.  It was built to be stable, power sustaining, speed controlling, signal and data live transfer, among other special features, hardly find in the existing remotely controlled aircraft in the earth. NAS says their Marscopter will have the ability to travel to another world which is the red planet that its exploration had been in the heart of many astronauts due to the predictions made that there could be possible presence of a living thing in the planet.

The special helicopter for Mars exploration will pave way for future missions that will guide the astronauts to obtain data, locations, and all the information needed from the planet. If successful, the Mars overall conditions including the seasons, hidden living things, and water conditions, etc. will all be known to all the interested scientists in the earth.

Advertisement

From the information obtained about this latest technology, the Marscopter has the following features:

Advertisement

SMALL BODY WITH BIG ROTOR

It is a single rotor drone with its rotor fixed at the top of the body like a conventional helicopter. The rotor was referred to as “mighty in size” due to its oversized shape from normal rotors of helicopters found in the earth. The engineering body revealed that their biggest challenge had been “getting the Mars Helicopter just right” because the air vehicle needs to push enough air downward to receive an upward force that will allow for thrust and controlled flight. The variations of the environmental conditions between the Earth and Mars are the main reason the helicopter will have new design and features which are different from the conventional helicopter.

The rotor size is more than twice the vehicle body due to the need to overcome lots of resistance while on a flight.

THE MARSCOPTER CAN FLY IN REALLY THIN MARTAIN AIR

For the helicopter to fly successfully in Mars, the rotor must spin much faster than on Earth and its size relative to the entire weight of the helicopter has to be larger too. The rotor dimensions are; 4 feet wide which is about 1.2 meters long, its RPM is 2,800 rotations per minute and has the ability to spin 10 times faster than any helicopter that exists in the Earth.

The engineers discovered that the blades (rotors) of the Marscopter do flap around too much which was found the series of tests conducted with the helicopter, they said the error was fixed by making the blades more rigid before the aircraft embarks on the special mission. According to Balaram, “the blades of the helicopter are much stiffer than any terrestrial helicopter would need to be”.

Besides the blades (rotors), the body of the Mars helicopter is very small about the size of a softball and the entire weight of the drone helicopter will weigh just 4 pounds which is just 1.8 kilograms.

IT CAN MAKE UP TO FIVE FLIGHT ON MARS

Over a 30-day period on Mars, the helicopter will attempt up to five flights, each time going farther than the last. The helicopter will fly up to 90 seconds at a time, at heights of up to 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters). Engineers will learn a lot about flying a helicopter on Mars with each flight since it’s never been done before!

THE MARSCOPTER PASSED GROUNDBREAKING TESTS

Based on predictions of the mars conditions, the engineers had carefully carried out series of tests to ascertain the possible overall performance of the drone helicopter on the Red Planet. According to the deputy chief engineer of Mars Helicopter based at JPL, Engr. Joe Melko, he said, “We had to invent how to do planetary helicopter testing on Earth.”

Engineers have also exercised the rotors of a test helicopter in a cold chamber to simulate the low temperatures of Mars at night. In addition, they have taken design steps to deal with Mars-like radiation conditions. They have also tested the helicopter’s landing gear on the Mars-like terrain. More tests are coming to see how it performs with Mars-like winds and other conditions.

IT HAS HIGH PIXEL CAMERAS

Though the engineers’ priority is to have the helicopter fly on Mars so it technology can be used to build larger and more priority based helicopters. The Marscopter still has its cameras installed which is equivalent or more than to some of the smartphone's cameras in pixel rating. It has the ability to take color photographs with a 13-megapixel camera.

Advertisement

IT IS A RECHARGEABLE BATTERY POWERED DRONE

The helicopter requires 360 watts of power for each second it hovers in the Martian atmosphere – equivalent to the power required by six regular lightbulbs. But it isn’t out of luck when its lithium-ion batteries run dry. A solar array on the helicopter will recharge the batteries, making it a self-sufficient system as long as there is adequate sunlight. Most of the energy will be used to keep the helicopter warm since nighttime temperatures on Mars plummet to around minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 Celsius). During daytime flights, temperatures may rise to a much warmer minus 13 to minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit to (minus 25 to minus 50 degrees Celsius) — still chilly by Earth standards. The solar panel makes an average of 3 watts of power continuously during a 12-hour Martian day.

THE HELICOPTER WILL BE CARRIED TO MARS UNDER THE BELLY OF THE ROVER

Somewhere between 60 to 90 Martian days (or sols) after the Mars 2020 rover lands, the helicopter will be deployed from the underside of the rover. Mars Helicopter Delivery System on the rover will rotate the helicopter down from the rover and release it onto the ground. The rover will then drive away to a safe distance.

THE HELICOPTER WILL TALK TO THE ROVER

The Mars 2020 rover will act as a telecommunication relay, receiving commands from engineers back on Earth and relaying them to the helicopter. The helicopter will then send images and information about its own performance to the rover, which will send them back to Earth. The rover will also take measurements of wind and atmospheric data to help flight controllers on Earth.

 

IT HAS TO FLY BY ITSELF, WITH SOME HELP

Radio signals take time to travel to Mars — between four and 21 minutes, depending on where Earth and Mars are in their orbits — so instantaneous communication with the helicopter will be impossible. That means flight controllers can’t use a joystick to fly it in real time, like a video game. Instead, they need to send commands to the helicopter in advance, and the little flying robot will follow through. Autonomous systems will allow the helicopter to look at the ground, analyze the terrain to look how fast it’s moving, and land on its own.

 

 IT COULD PAVE THE WAY FOR FUTURE MISSIONS

A future Mars helicopter could scout points of interest, help scientists and engineers select new locations and plan driving routes for a rover. Larger standalone helicopters could carry science payloads to investigate multiple sites at Mars. Future helicopters could also be used to fly to places on Mars that rovers cannot reach, such as cliffs or walls of craters. They could even assist with human exploration one day. Says Balaram: “Someday, if we send astronauts, these could be the eyes of the astronauts across Mars.”

According to the NASA's official statement in their social media, it reads, "We’re sending a helicopter to Mars! As the first helicopter to ever fly on a planetary body other than Earth, our Marscopter will deliver exciting new technology that could change the way we explore the Red Planet: ".

 

Originally posted 2018-06-26 12:57:33.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Spread the love
  • 2
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    2
    Shares
Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Advertisement
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
error: Content is protected !!