Here is a fun fact for you. If you think about it, Mars is a planet populated entirely of robots. From the Mars Rover to Curiosity, NASA through the decades provided the planet with explorers for data gathering. These creations can withstand the harsh weather conditions and uneven terrain. All while collecting rock samples and data for scientists to understand our red neighbor.
The list of robots currently on our red neighbor may have an addition soon. This time, NASA wants a drone to take to the Martian skies. No more tank-like features for Mars’ newest explorer. Now, robots will have wings, propellers, and cameras that can get vision of the landscape with a bird’s eye view.
Mars Drone Taking Off:
The plan for this Mars Drone is a bit more complicated than sending a UAV to a spacecraft.
The drone will come with a six-wheeled rover named the Mars 2020 Rover. It has a design based on the ones currently on Mars. The rover will serve as the base for the drone, where it will launch for missions. The rover will also be a service station and relay center for data collected.
The Mars Helicopter drone itself, as you may have guessed, will resemble a small helicopter. The dual-rotor drone will have a storage unit within the rover, giving it protection from the environment and the trip in general. Compared to the rovers that roam the surface of the red planet, the drone would be far smaller. It will be about the size of a softball and weighing a little less than 2 kilograms.
Like more modern drones, it will come with solar panels equipped in its exterior. This will help with the battery life, and make the flight time longer. This means the drone will not spend a majority of its time going back and forth from a charging station.
It will then cruise through the skies collecting samples from the air, while also taking photographs of the area. It is expected that photographs and even videos from the drone would provide more accurate views than satellite images. Being up close into the Martian terrain can create better visuals than ever before.
If all goes according to plan, Mars’ new visitor will start its journey by July 2020.