Author Topic: NASA to decide soon whether flying drone will launch with Mars 2020 rover  (Read 5647 times)

Offline geza

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From the press release.
Quote
The full 30-day flight test campaign will include up to five flights of incrementally farther flight distances, up to a few hundred meters, and longer durations as long as 90 seconds, over a period. On its first flight, the helicopter will make a short vertical climb to 10 feet (3 meters), where it will hover for about 30 seconds.

This is probably not going to be a device that stays with the rover throughout its mission. It will probably be deployed early, tested for a month, and then who knows after that. This should be thought of more as a technology demonstration than a full-fledged escort mission.

Yes, but I am not sure how to interpret this. During that month the rover will not go anywhere, because the helicopter needs the babying? If so, I understand the worry of the scientists...

Offline speedevil

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The RTG powered rovers are huge.  Why can't the helicopter be placed on top somewhere to charge its batteries and be checked out while the rover goes about its primary business.  Then it could be put on the ground and left behind as the rover moves on, executing its traverse while getting a safe separation distance.  If the helicopter can't take off and fly to the rover then the engineering test.
The solar panel in this case is not a major issue.
The motor needs a couple of minutes times 200W per day, or 6Wh/day, and perhaps another 10Wh for heating the electronics box at night.
This is 0.75watt input power average, meaning a panel needs to be around 10-20cm in diameter, given around 20W average per m^2 of panel on Mars.

(though I would argue that putting the panels on the sides probably makes more sense)

More power would be great - but it does not unfortunately enable much longer flights, as the higher power needs a larger battery, and larger motor, ...


Offline geza

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So, few minutes of flight time per day. What is the maximal flight distance per day? It determines the maximal travel distance of the rover per day. I like the idea of the helicopter...

Offline speedevil

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So, few minutes of flight time per day. What is the maximal flight distance per day? It determines the maximal travel distance of the rover per day. I like the idea of the helicopter...
The baseline distance is a bit under a kilometer, so if you're returning every day, 300m out.
Likely traverses for near-term rovers are in the hundred meter a day tops category.

Offline hop

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Yes, but I am not sure how to interpret this. During that month the rover will not go anywhere, because the helicopter needs the babying? If so, I understand the worry of the scientists...
Based on past experience the rover probably won't go very far in the first 30 days regardless of the helicopter. There will be deployments and checkout, then some science on the nearest interesting targets.

By sol 30, Curiosity had driven 110 meters, most in the immediately preceding sols. My impression is the 2020 team has worked hard to streamline things relatively to Curiosity, but the early mission will almost certainly still be slow.

That said, it is reasonable to expect if the helicopter has a "funny" it could affect rover operations. It's easy to say something is an expendable tech demo, less so to write it off at the first hiccup.

Offline Nibb31

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I think one of the reasons rovers go slow in the early mission phase is to maximize science return before taking any risks. The rover could theoretically break down at any time, so you want to get as much science data back from it in case it does, even if that means remaining stationary.

Offline catdlr

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Engineering is a science technically  ;)

But this thing is now officially part of Mars 2020?

It is.

But Mars 2020's primary mission is collecting high quality samples for return to Earth. That goal is very high priority, and nothing will be allowed to interfere with it. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with it.

Time to rename this thread as NASA has decided to now.
Tony De La Rosa

Offline redliox

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Time to rename this thread as NASA has decided to now.

Put up a fresh thread here: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45676.0

« Last Edit: 05/14/2018 11:18 AM by Chris Bergin »
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