Based on the recent declaration that the administration has made, NASA is developing a new project to send airplane on Mars. The mission, which is due to take place in 2024, will further help scientists study the surface of the Red Planet in order to prepare the human colonization of the celestial body in 2030.
The Preliminary Research Aerodynamics Design to Land on Mars, also known as Prandtl-m, will be developed by researchers at NASA with the close collaboration of young college students who want to take part in the project.
As a matter of fact, the whole idea of the program has been conceived during a brainstorming session carried out with the help of these college students. They have reached the conclusion that Mars’ surface could be better studied with the help of a drone.
In addition to the Curiosity rover, which has been circling the territory of Mars for several years now, the Red Planet will also see the landing of the first airplane around 2024.
Both scientists and college students have concluded that the drone has to be small in order to be transported in space by a small satellite. Thus, the blueprint features a 61cm and a 1.2kg airplane that is capable of taking 10-minute flights.
The plan is to use the CubeSat satellite to fly the airplane into space and then, as the two objects get closer to the surface of the Red Planet, the drone will detach itself from the satellite and land on Mars. The high definition cameras of the flying rover will take pictures at all times; thus enabling scientists to get additional data on Mars.
Scientists have further disclosed that the wings of the airplane will fold themselves so the drone could fit the small satellite. Moreover, the body of the airplane will be made out of fiberglass and carbon fiber that help significantly reduce the weight of the system.
NASA plans to send humans on Mars by 2030; therefore their present work focuses primarily on the development of advanced technological means that would enable people to survive on the Red Planet.
Among other experiments that the administration is making is also the 14-day underwater mission meant to test tech gear for NASA’s future missions. These tests evaluate the ability of virtual reality headsets to improve communication between astronauts and ground operators.
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