[meteorite-list] Helicopter Could be 'Scout' for Mars Rovers

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:04:19 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201501230104.t0N14JUn021717_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Helicopter Could be 'Scout' for Mars Rovers
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
January 22, 2015

Getting around on Mars is tricky business. Each NASA rover has delivered
a wealth of information about the history and composition of the Red Planet,
but a rover's vision is limited by the view of onboard cameras, and images
from spacecraft orbiting Mars are the only other clues to where to drive
it. To have a better sense of where to go and what's worth studying on
Mars, it could be useful to have a low-flying scout.

Enter the Mars Helicopter, a proposed add-on to Mars rovers of the future
that could potentially triple the distance these vehicles currently drive
in a Martian day, and deliver a new level of visual information for choosing
which sites to explore.

The helicopter would fly ahead of the rover almost every day, checking
out various possible points of interest and helping engineers back on
Earth plan the best driving route.

Scientists could also use the helicopter images to look for features for
the rover to study in further detail. Another part of the helicopter's
job would be to check out the best places for the rover to collect key
samples and rocks for a cache, which a next-generation rover could pick
up later.

The vehicle is envisioned to weigh 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) and measure
3.6 feet (1.1 meters) across from the tip of one blade to the other. The
prototype body looks like a medium-size cubic tissue box.

The current design is a proof-of-concept technology demonstration that
has been tested at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Media Contact

Elizabeth Landau
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
elizabeth.landau at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Thu 22 Jan 2015 08:04:19 PM PST

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