Joining the Mars 2020 rover mission to the Red Planet will be a small helicopter. The Mars Helicopter, with a softball-size fuselage, the autonomous chopper will be solar powered and integrate a small heater so it doesn't seize up at night. From NASA
Once the rover is on the planet’s surface, a suitable location will be found to deploy the helicopter down from the vehicle and place it onto the ground. The rover then will be driven away from the helicopter to a safe distance from which it will relay commands. After its batteries are charged and a myriad of tests are performed, controllers on Earth will command the Mars Helicopter to take its first autonomous flight into history.
“We don’t have a pilot and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time,” said (Mimi Aung, Mars Helicopter project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.) “Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the (rover on the) ground, and then fly the mission on its own.”
“The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers,” said Zurbuchen. “We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit. With the added dimension of a bird’s-eye view from a ‘marscopter,’ we can only imagine what future missions will achieve.”
Mars 2020 will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.
On Monday, we reported that for the first time, a plant seed had germinated on the moon, an early experiment to test whether food could someday be grown on the moon to feed residents of a lunar base. The cotton sprout was inside a canister on China’s Chang’e 4 lander that touched down on the […]
Starting Sunday evening, Jan. 20, 2019, North and South America will have a chance at seeing 2019’s only total lunar eclipse, from start to finish. Our Earth, Moon and Sun line up on Sunday night for the only total lunar eclipse of of the year. Catch it if you can.
Adam Savage is back with an all-new show, and he’ll be tweeting live during tonight’s MythBusters Jr. on The Science Channel. The episode is named “Battery Blast,” so we’re expecting there will be explodey explosions, and they’re mentioning “straight as an arrow” so, pointy weapons.
For the newbie, Python can seem like the most intimidating programming language. After all, it can be used to create everything from simple apps to vast networks of web crawlers. But there are fundamental principles that underlie all the uses of this versatile platform, and you can absorb them all with the Python Master Class […]
Building a website on WordPress has always been easy. But if you really want to make your website stand out from the growing crowd, you’re going to need some help. For our money, a subscription to Storeshock WordPress Themes & Elements does the trick almost as well as having a pro designer by your side […]
These days, there isn’t much our iPhone camera can’t do – except feel like an actual phone. Despite years of steadily increasing resolution and image sensing technology, we’re still taking shots awkwardly with two hands, fumbling for the shutter button. Leave it to an avid photographer to design Shuttercase, a versatile iPhone case that solves […]