Drones have a great combination of assets perfect for scouting and data gathering. Fieldwork for example becomes a lot easier with these little guys flying around. Police, firefighters, search and rescue, and even farmers all opt to have a drone present in their workplaces. It provides a much-needed tool that can do a lot of things to make it easier for people.
Drones beyond the Skies
Instead of human workers traveling on foot to survey the scene, they can simply send a drone. A drone can fly over the area, giving it an unparalleled point of view. With an eye in the sky, it can gather information more accurately, while also done at a fraction of the time it would take on foot.
Because of these reasons, along with its capability of being autonomous, makes it a great candidate for space exploration. Adding the fact that drones are more affordable, durable, and made up of cheaper (and lighter) material, it is a great asset indeed. The materials are also a top priority as one may require repairs during its mission.
Currently, NASA plans to send a drone to gather data on the surface of Mars. As of now, Mars hosts a number of land rovers collecting rocks and other samples back to earth. NASA plans to take it up a notch with flying explorers to journey through the red planet.
The plan right now is for a helicopter drone to start navigating through the Martian landscape and airspace. The date for this endeavor to start is halfway through 2020. It will arrive on Mars (if no problems arise) in 2021. Of course, that would mean that we would not hear news of the helicopter drone’s trip until then.
The helicopter drone does not have a similar design to today’s current quadcopters. It only has spinning rotors on top of its axis instead of four smaller ones in each side. This gives it a closer design to the modern day helicopter.
It however retains its autonomous properties, as well as its lightweight design. This gives it a great chance to survey Mars through the skies. Although we may have to see how it fares against the Martian weather and sky composition.
Mars Exploration Goals
The search for life on Mars is still the top priority, even for this new generation of Mars explorers. Other than that, NASA also wants a more accurate topography of the planet. A vantage point taken from the air would provide a sundry of benefits for researchers. The drone can also transport items all over the Martian landscape. The delivery aspect is a promising idea as the terrain of Mars may sometimes make it impossible to access certain areas. A drone delivering cargo through the skies can open more areas for research.
Of course, searching for signs of life also comes hand in hand with the search for livable environment. The final goal is still for humans to create a settlement – a colony – on Mars that can sustain itself. This includes breathable air, drinkable water, and soil one can plant on. With a flying eye soaring through Martian land, these may be possible to check.
Speaking of accessible areas, a drone can reach places a land rover cannot – period. Mars hosts several crevices and unreachable areas that a land explorer would not be able to go. This means more areas to explore, more crevices to see, and even higher land structures becoming available for viewing.
The idea of a flying explorer on Mars provides unlimited possibilities for researchers on Earth. Would this flying candidate break new grounds when it comes to humanity’s search for life in the red planet?