Beijing, April 2, Science and Technology Daily (Internship reporter Hu Dingkun) Human beings are no longer satisfied with just staying on the surface of Mars, and the sky of Mars will become a conquest target. A few days ago, NASA announced that the Mars helicopter has completed flight tests and will run to the Red Planet with the new Mars rover in 2020.
In order to solve the problem of Mars flight, the JPL and Ames research centers under NASA have jointly carried out pre-research on Mars helicopters with Stanford University and Sikorsky Aircraft Company since 2000. In 2014, JPL and Aeronautical Environment Corporation, which specializes in the design of small UAVs, proposed the concept of Mars helicopter, which basically solved the design problem.
Despite NASA's efforts, the performance of Mars helicopters remains worrying. On the one hand, it requires very high flying environment. Horizontal wind speed can not exceed 10 meters/sec, vertical wind speed should be less than 3 meters/sec, gust wind speed should be limited to 3.5 meters/sec. On the other hand, flying speed is also limited to 10 meters/sec transversely and 3 meters/sec longitudinally. In addition, considering the effects of Martian night and low temperatures, less than 30% of the electricity can be used to fly, and the flight time is less than 90 seconds. In other words, a Mars helicopter has a radius of less than 450 meters.
The helicopter has a large field of vision and is a powerful tool for exploring unknown areas, but it is too difficult to take off in air with only one or two percent of the earth's density. That's why previous exploration plans preferred to trudge on Mars vehicles rather than introduce aircraft. Advances in solar cells and high-speed rotor technology make engineering breakthroughs possible. Of course, there are still many problems to be solved if the new equipment is to adapt to the harsh environment on Mars.