Drones have conquered the air, I doubt anyone would try to argue that point. More recently, drones have been exploring underwater, now NASA has plans to use drones on Mars. Yes, the planet Mars.
Creating a drone for use on Mars is no easy task and will require some complex engineering considering the differences that exist between Earth and Mars. I can’t wait to learn more.
We already know that drones are useful for investigating hard-to-reach areas of Earth, but they could also be essential for exploring other planets. Engineers at NASA’s Langley research center are developing a concept for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, a.k.a. drones) for Mars.
Currently, the Curiosity rover is exploring the red planet. It has already helped scientists make some exciting discoveries, such as the fact that Mars once had conditions to support life. This is quite an accomplishment, especially since the rover is stuck on the ground. When the next rover heads to Mars in 2020 it could be accompanied by a drone that would help expand its view of the landscape.
NASA’s engineers are faced with the challenge of getting a drone to fly in conditions that are quite different from home. In one sense, flying should be easier on Mars because the planet has 3/8 the gravity that we have on Earth. But at the same time, there is also 100 times less atmosphere, so when the UAV’s rotor blades spin, they will only have thin air to push against, so liftoff will be especially difficult.
NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) vision: We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.
To do that, thousands of people have been working around the world — and off of it — for more than 50 years, trying to answer some basic questions. What’s out there in space? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there, or learn just by trying to get there, that will make life better here on Earth?