Author Topic: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone  (Read 14963 times)

Offline ccdengr

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #60 on: 06/03/2018 07:45 PM »
So there is room in the mass budget for the drone.
Certainly there was mass for the helicopter, otherwise it wouldn't have been an option.

There's been a certain amount of complaining about MOXIE as well, since that's a lot of mass and power (lots more than the helicopter) that also has nothing much to do with the science objectives of the mission.  AFAIK, MOXIE was selected outside of the process for other instruments (I forget if there was a separate AO or a special part of the instrument AO.)

I'm not sure what the point of this argument is.  The science team didn't make these decisions and opposition to anything not related to their science goals would be perfectly understandable.  So what?  Now that the helicopter is on, I expect the science and ops team will make as much use of it as practical.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2018 07:46 PM by ccdengr »

Offline Don2

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #61 on: 06/03/2018 09:06 PM »
If the drone takes 14 days out of a 730 day primary mission that is only a 2% hit. I don't think that is a big deal.

Moxie masses 15 kg so it is quite heavy. I assume that the rover has power to spare at the beginning of the mission and that is what is allocated to Moxie. I expect Moxie will be switched off after a few years when power becomes a problem.

Does anybody know for sure what the limiting resource is at the beginning of the mission? I'm guessing it is telecoms.

Offline ccdengr

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #62 on: 06/03/2018 09:14 PM »
Does anybody know for sure what the limiting resource is at the beginning of the mission?
Operator expertise.  It takes a while for the operations plan that actually works to evolve, as opposed to all of the plans that were imagined in simulations.

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."
« Last Edit: 06/03/2018 09:16 PM by ccdengr »

Offline hop

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #63 on: 06/04/2018 12:17 AM »
The drone - if this is a concern and if in fact the rover does not help significantly path planning - should be operated out of the PR budget.
AFAIK the helicopter is already a separate project with a separate budget. The "costs" to the main rover mission are downlink, power and operational impacts.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #64 on: 06/04/2018 12:23 AM »
. I they will struggle to get all the samples collected in time and it is understandable that they don't want any additional tasks on top of what they already have.
The drone - if this is a concern and if in fact the rover does not help significantly path planning - should be operated out of the PR budget.

The primary role of the drone is to aid path planning.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #65 on: 06/04/2018 12:24 AM »
So there is room in the mass budget for the drone.
Certainly there was mass for the helicopter, otherwise it wouldn't have been an option.

There's been a certain amount of complaining about MOXIE as well, since that's a lot of mass and power (lots more than the helicopter) that also has nothing much to do with the science objectives of the mission.  AFAIK, MOXIE was selected outside of the process for other instruments (I forget if there was a separate AO or a special part of the instrument AO.)

I'm not sure what the point of this argument is.  The science team didn't make these decisions and opposition to anything not related to their science goals would be perfectly understandable.  So what?  Now that the helicopter is on, I expect the science and ops team will make as much use of it as practical.

And not everyone on the science team opposes it.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #66 on: 06/04/2018 12:31 AM »
You have only provided evidence that some people did not like it.  You have presented zero evidence that this opposition was universal across the team.  You have presented zero evidence that this opposition continues.

You mean that because there doesn't exist an official poll where each and every member of the entire Mars 2020 team, without exception, publicly voted against including the helicopter that therefore the multiple and varied statements by leading team members that they personally, and the team in general, didn't support its inclusion are therefore worthless and not representative?  Ridiculous.  In addition to the direct statements, what you seem to be discounting/ignoring is that the way people talk about the issue is indicative of the feelings of the whole team.  If an issue/decision within a team has support on both sides, when representatives talk about how the team feels their statements will always reflect that ambivalence regardless of their personal position.  So, I take the fact that the project scientist was making the statements he did to the press (i.e. the SpaceNews article I linked), as actually quite a strong signal.  IMO, even the way that statements about their readiness/preparedness for the helicopter's possible inclusion which didn't touch on the team's opinion were couched in such a way that showed they weren't in favor. 

Since I know people on the science team are pleased it's included then clearly such a consensus does not exist.  the one person who has spoken out is clearly therefore not representing the team juts himself (and doubtless a few others).

Quote
Current, ongoing opposition opinion is a moot issue.  The helicopter is included.  Done.  And the Mars 2020 project has done everything necessary, and will continue to do so, to include it and support its achieving the set mission objectives.

Indeed.  So clearly the mission team as a whole thinks it is a good idea and worth inclusion. 

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You have ignored the evidence that there are documented operational advantages to the scout.
You have ignored the fact that they are constrained by being required to only consider the helicopter's approved mission.  Which lasts for 30 days and, as currently planned, will have absolutely ZERO ability to assist this particular rover.  Any claims that there are "documented operational advantages to the scout" are about the idea of having an operational scout on some future mission or about what might be possible if the helicopter is able to live past its mission lifetime and gets an extension.  Only, neither of those are germane considerations to those working this mission (beyond tentative operations planning for how to try to capitalize on the capability).  IMO, the real problem is that for M2020 to make use of the helicopter, the chopper will have to live and be operable far beyond its planned lifetime.  The early months of these rover missions never seem to make long trek drives where the route planning would be most beneficial.  That only comes once they've gotten everything working and calibrated, explored the initial landing area, characterized the rover's actual driving behavior and operation, and set out for the prime science hunting grounds.  Etc.[/quote]

You are ignoring the fact that the data collected during that nominal 30 day period will aid the mission well beyond it. Both in route planning and science. 

"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline hop

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #67 on: 06/04/2018 01:37 AM »
The primary role of the drone is to aid path planning.
This is not correct. The drone is a technology demonstrator. It's primary role is to advance the technology for possible use on future missions. Any operational benefit to Mars 2020 is purely a bonus.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #68 on: 06/12/2018 05:09 AM »

This thread is exhibiting one of the classic weaknesses of all space enthusiast groups: you think that the thing that you personally think is cool is what is important, and is what the people operating space programs think is important. The industry, NASA, science, are all working on their own set of rules, not your definition of cool and important.
Well I'd call that a weakness of the mission group, not me.

Offline mlindner

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #69 on: 06/15/2018 09:07 AM »
I'm incredibly surprised about the bickering about this helicopter drone. Technology demonstration missions are MORE interesting for the general public than the actual science missions. The general public doesn't understand the science and largely doesn't care. They do care about "awesome rovers on Mars", and "awesome helicopters on Mars" is even better. The general public likes superlatives, the more impressive the better.

Personally, even for the InSight lander, I'm more interested in MarCO A and B than I am for InSight. Science missions advance science but specifically use proven technology. Technology demonstrations advance the state of the art and open up further possibilities for science missions in the future (and eventual human missions).
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Offline mlindner

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #70 on: 06/15/2018 09:13 AM »
Oh brother...

I don't understand why you guys don't get it: this is a tech demonstrator. It is a SMALL tech demonstrator on a BIG mission. The people who are working on the $2.4 billion rover are looking at this thing like a fly that is buzzing around their head while they are trying to drive their car. Of course they don't think it is useful or valuable because it just gets in the way of their--pardon me while I emphasize this point a little stronger--TWO POINT FOUR BILLION DOLLAR MISSION.

This thread is exhibiting one of the classic weaknesses of all space enthusiast groups: you think that the thing that you personally think is cool is what is important, and is what the people operating space programs think is important. The industry, NASA, science, are all working on their own set of rules, not your definition of cool and important.

I find this opinion saddening. Yes it's a tech demonstrator and we need to be doing MORE tech demonstrators, not less. The size of the mission is IRRELEVANT. I really doubt you have that much insight into the minds of the scientists involved. If whoever you talked to thinks its getting in their way then you should tell them to adjust their thinking and instead of criticizing it, instead think about how it can be used for the mission. I think you are falling for the exact same thing your "space enthusiasts" are falling for. You think that NASA in general follows your thinking.

This is the problem with Old Space mentality. There is a failure in thinking of possibilities of the future and how important demonstrations of technology are for future missions. It's narrow-minded and regressive and disappointing.
Internal combustion engine in space. It's just a Bad Idea.TM - Robotbeat

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #71 on: 06/15/2018 12:05 PM »
The size of the mission is IRRELEVANT. I really doubt you have that much insight into the minds of the scientists involved.

Ah... if you only knew...

Offline ccdengr

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #72 on: 06/15/2018 04:51 PM »
I really doubt you have that much insight into the minds of the scientists involved.
I don't know who Blackstar is talking to.  I'm on the M2020 team and he's not talking to me.  My opinion FWIW is that the helicopter got selected for flight and we might as well make the most of it.  Of course my opinion counts for very little except concerning the things I'm working on (and sometimes not even then  ;)

It's a big team and there are a lot of opinions and reactions to everything, including the helicopter.

Offline Don2

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #73 on: 06/16/2018 01:19 AM »
Yes, I think the public will like the helicopter. However, they will be a lot more impressed if the rover collects samples which have solid evidence for the existence of past Martian life. Even if you assume those are present on the landing site, finding them and collecting them will take time and some luck.

There is a fair amount of new tech on the 2020 rover. It can land more accurately and can therefore get into scientifically interesting spots which weren't open to Curiosity. It uses a new approach to detecting organics and minerals, which should be faster that what Curiosity has. It has the MOXIE demonstration of making oxygen from carbon dioxide. It can drill proper rock cores and that drill will have to last longer than the one on Curiosity did. Like most science missions, it does include quite a lot of new tech.

I do think you have to be very careful about adding stuff to missions. It is all too easy to blow up the complexity, the cost and eventually the whole program.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #74 on: 06/25/2018 08:08 PM »
Is this helicopter going to be fully autonomous, by which I mean it is deciding where it is landing? Does it have hazard-avoidance capability?

Or is it only going to be doing pre-programmed flights sent to it by Earth?
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Offline AlexA

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #75 on: 06/26/2018 02:55 PM »
Is this helicopter going to be fully autonomous, by which I mean it is deciding where it is landing? Does it have hazard-avoidance capability?

Or is it only going to be doing pre-programmed flights sent to it by Earth?
Pre-programmed flights using waypoints sent from Earth. Safe landing sites will be chosen in advance based on rover imagery, see section V. Concept of Operations in this paper:
Balaram et al. Mars Helicopter Technology Demonstrator.  2018 AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference.
PDF download here:
https://rotorcraft.arc.nasa.gov/Publications/files/Balaram_AIAA2018_0023.pdf

Quote
V. Concept of Operations
To understand the potential operations of a Mars helicopter technology demonstrator, it is useful to consider as an example, a specific upcoming Mars rover mission and the potential deployment of a helicopter asset as part of that mission. Three landing sites that address the science objectives (seeking habitable conditions and signs for microbial life) of the mission and are safe are being considered for the Mars 2020 Rover mission (as of early 2018). The landing sites (Jezero crater, Northeast Syrtis and the Columbia Hills) are in the equatorial region at relatively low elevation [11, 12]. Extensive characterization by orbital imaging shows the sites to be relatively smooth, flat and with relatively low rock abundance and safe for landing with the sky crane, terrain relative navigation and avoidance system [13]. Several regions of interest (ROI) have been identified at each of the sites that will be targets of extensive surface exploration and the collection and caching of samples for eventual return to Earth. After landing, the rover will begin traversing to the closest ROI. On the way to the ROI, using orbital data, the rover could be directed to areas that likely meet the requirements for deploying the helicopter and flying the technology demonstration sorties. These areas would have to have low slopes and sufficient surface texture for accurate tracking by the demonstrator’s navigation filter during flight and few rocks higher than 5 cm to interfere with its landing. The rover would need to image the area being considered at higher resolution than from orbit using stereo rover Navigation camera images to determine if it meets the requirements. If the area for landed helicopter operations is a patch about 10 m  10 m and outbound sorties lengths are 100 m, then analysis of orbital images and stereo digital elevation models indicates that the rover would need to traverse less than 200 m in over 90% of the landing ellipses to find suitable areas for deploying and flying the helicopter.

The technology demonstrator is designed to be operated over a period of 30 sols. After deployment, the fully self-contained helicopter must survive temperature conditions dropping to -100 C at night or lower. It would nominally undertake daily (depending on solar energy and thermal status) autonomous flights at approximately 11 am local time, with each flight lasting upto 90 sec with flight ranges of upto 300 m at altitudes ranging from 3 m to 10 m above the ground. Up-to five technology experiment flights are anticipated during the 30 sol helicopter mission window. Atmospheric conditions expected during the daytime have density ranging from 0:014 kg¯m3 to 0:02 kg¯m3. At the nominal 11 am flight times, the density is expected to range from 0:016 kg¯m3 to 0:0175 kg¯m3, air temperatures are expected to be approximately -50 C, and winds up-to a maximum of approximately 5 m/s.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2018 05:40 PM by AlexA »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #76 on: 06/26/2018 04:31 PM »
Is this helicopter going to be fully autonomous, by which I mean it is deciding where it is landing? Does it have hazard-avoidance capability?

Or is it only going to be doing pre-programmed flights sent to it by Earth?
Pre-programmed flights using waypoints sent from Earth. Safe landing sites will be chosen in advance based on rover imagery, see section V. Concept of Operations in this paper:
In principle, the hardware has the capability to do at least first-pass determination of safe sites, and could operate autonomously with different software.
The hardware is quite capable.
It seems overwhelmingly likely this will not be done for this mission.

Offline Jeff Lerner

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #77 on: 06/26/2018 04:54 PM »
Will there be an opportunity for the m2020 rover to turn its cameras back to the helicopter to see its take offs like the lunar rover did for the LM liftoffs or once the copter is dropped from the rover that's the end of any involvement from m2020 ??

Offline ccdengr

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #78 on: 06/26/2018 04:59 PM »
Will there be an opportunity for the m2020 rover to turn its cameras back to the helicopter to see its take offs...
It would seem silly to not at least try to do this, although M2020's video capability (at least with Mastcam-Z) is fairly limited (720p at 10 FPS).  But the conops in the AIAA paper is pretty half-baked and any attempt to image the helicopter would require that the take-off time is known in advance by the rover.
« Last Edit: 06/26/2018 05:00 PM by ccdengr »

Offline jbenton

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Re: Mars 2020 Helicopter Drone
« Reply #79 on: 08/29/2018 01:28 AM »
How exactly do they plan to deploy this thing? My understanding is that it piggybacks on the rover and the rover's arm grabs it and gently places it on the ground where it launches. That being said, how do they secure it onto the rover during EDL?

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