Drones could be used on Mars, says NASA

Mars helicopter drones could be used to help discover best points of interest on the planet

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Drones could be used on Mars, says NASA NASA: "The drone 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."
By  Helen Gaskell Published  January 26, 2015

NASA has proposed that a Mars helicopter drone could be used to give a new level of visual information.

Currently NASA rovers are used to study the planet and according to NASA have provided a wealth of information about the history and composition of the Red Planet, however drones are said to be able to help them.

"A rover's vision is limited by the view of on board 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." NASA said in a statement.

According to NASA, a Mars helicopter drone could potentially triple the distance the rover vehicles currently drive in a "Martian day".

"The drone 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 drone 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 statement added.

The vehicle is envisioned to weigh 1kg and measure 1.1 meters across from the tip of one blade to the other. The prototype body looks like a medium-size cubic tissue box.

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