A drone for Mars


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Engineers at JPL have begun testing prototypes of a drone that would be used on Mars to aid future rovers.

The newest solution proposed by JPL is the Mars Helicopter, an autonomous drone that could “triple the distances that Mars rovers can drive in a Martian day,” according to NASA. The helicopter would fly ahead of a rover when its view is blocked and send Earth-bound engineers the right data to plan the rover’s route.

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2 comments

  • PeterF

    Why not skip the rover mode and just make the probe a helicopter?

  • Edward

    It is probably a weight problem. Scientific instruments tend to have a lot of mass and require power (requiring more mass for the solar arrays, etc.), so they would either be limited on the number of experiments, or they would need a lot of drones.

    So far, we have had much success with rovers, so adding a reconnaissance scout is low risk.

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