NASA's Perseverance rover and the Mars 2020 mission are rapidly taking shape as the launch window scheduled for mid-July approaches.
The Perseverance robot is by far the most advanced piece of technology that NASA has ever sent on Red planet. The Rover and the "colleagues" that will accompany it in Mars 2020 are full of tools that will provide scientists with all kinds of interesting information about our dusty neighbor.
Now, about 14 weeks into the launch window, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA has reached a critical point in the final assembly of the rover by installing Mars Helicopter. Yes, you read that correctly. A helicopter on Mars.
The Mars Helicopter is one of the most interesting elements of the Mars 2020 mission and, if successful, it will be the first time that humanity will attempt controlled flight on a planet other than Earth.
In flight, calmly
The helicopter will not descend into the skies immediately after the rover arrives on Mars. He will spend nearly three months in the Rover's belly waiting for the time to soar. How do you explain NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a new post, the rover will travel at least a hundred meters before the helicopter has a chance to take off.
Mars Helicopter and its "charging base"
The waiting time required for departure will also be used to collect energy from its base, the Rover Perseverance. Thereafter, the helicopter will generate its own electricity through a solar panel located above its double counter-rotating propellers.
Mars Helicopter is quite small, it weighs only 4 pounds and its 1.2 meter propeller system should provide plenty of lift. The helicopter will take up to a month to show what it can do after it is deployed, but NASA is holding back its expectations.
In indeed, the helicopter has no real scientific goal. It will not collect samples or analyze anything. It will simply demonstrate (and for me it is no small thing anyway) what could be possible when it comes to flying in the subtle atmosphere of the Red Planet.
Its success or failure will inform future missions and could lead to more advanced helicopter designs that would be able to explore Mars and other planets much faster than a slow crawling rover.
Gianluca Riccio, born in 1975, is the creative director of an advertising agency, copywriter and journalist. He is affiliated with Italian Institute for the Future, World Future Society and H +, Network of Italian Transhumanists. Since 2006 he directs Futuroprossimo.it, the Italian resource of Futurology.
Futuroprossimo.it is an Italian resource of futurology opened since 2006: every day news about the near future. Scientific discoveries, medical research, prototypes, concepts and predictions about the future for free.
Gianluca Riccio, copywriter and journalist - Born in 1975, he is the creative director of an advertising agency, he is affiliated with the Italian Institute for the Future, World Future Society and H +, Network of Italian Transhumanists.