This is still a first exploratory project and yet the concept is already well advanced, built a prototype. Engineers lab Swamp Works NASA Kennedy Space Center are working on a drone that could one day complement the work of Rover Curiosity type robots going to fly above the craters too steep for these machines. Extreme Access baptized Flyers, drones could one day roam the Martian air, the objective being a drone can carry several thousand flights during his lifetime. Problem: how to charge the batteries in this quadcopter?
Research on “space” drones were launched here 2 years
NASA is working on the idea of sending a quadcopter or rather more on the red planet to take pictures and to take samples to places inaccessible to robots. A technical challenge in many ways. First, the density of the Martian atmosphere is less than that of the earth. No doubt currently the propellers mounted on the prototype will be hard to take off the gear.
Battery charging is obviously another point to be treated for engineers. To overcome the various breakdowns and accidents, several drones will be sent to Mars as part of the same mission. The “lander” basis for UAVs. They will recharge it and submit their sampling. NASA must also solve the problem of the lack of GPS on the sister planet of earth. Drones will have to find their way to the lander on their own, without help from the earth. Beacon Radio, lasers or field reconnaissance, engineers will have to choose the most reliable option knowing that they hope to fly their drones thousands of times.
The project started here 2 years now on fundamental bricks and several types of drones multiple sizes are being considered. The Martian quadcopter should not use propellers but gas or steam jets to maintain flight and orientation. A prototype, dubbed Asteroid Prospector Flyer has been designed to operate in 0 gravity and could be used for operating astériodes. Drones in the conquest of space, it’s coming!
Translation : Google Translate
Source : “Extreme Access Flyer to Take Planetary Exploration Airborne”, NASA, july 30, 2015