The Mars Helicopter has been under development for years, and the organization hopes to accomplish the first successful Mars Helicopter flight by 2021. This exciting new technology has the possibility of paving the way for an entirely new realm of human endeavor, as well as providing humankind with a safer means of exploring space. The goal is to build a small unmanned aerial vehicle capable of reaching speeds of three miles per hour or more and traveling ten times the distance between consecutive flights. It is hoped that such a system will pave the way for eventual manned missions to the Red Planet. The Mars Helicopter project was started at the California Institute of Technology in May 2021.
Mars Helicopter flight
A Mars Helicopter flight test is scheduled for later this year, and the controls on the craft will be tested in a controlled environment. If all goes well, it will be sent up to the NASA Space Center in late 2021 to undergo further testing. If everything goes according to plan, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UUV) will fly several times over the equator. When the first unmanned aerial vehicle mission to Mars is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in October 2021, it will be the maiden Mars Helicopter flight of a very new era in the history of space travel.
There are many experts who predict that within ten years, we will have astronauts on Mars. And when they arrive, they will have the latest and greatest tools available. The Mars Helicopter flight test conducted by the University of Arizona actually has a much longer history than anyone might realize. Professor Robert J. Procknowter and his team did not set out to make a cheap science experiment. Rather, they wanted to design a durable, safe, and reusable unmanned aerial vehicle that would allow the NASA and international space agencies to carry out several different and important missions.
They began working on the concept in 1965, but it took many years for their vision to materialize. The program finally went into development in the late seventies. Although the MOL and Opportunity programs got underway, there was still much more that was needed before anything could be launched. “There is no way to know if we can successfully land humans on Mars without Mars Helicopter flight testing this system first,” said Jim Green, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Program. “When we do get an unmanned aerial vehicle on Mars and can actually operate it autonomously, then I think people’s eyes will really start to open.”
It is likely that at some point in the future, someone will propose a competition to demonstrate the capabilities of UAVs on Mars. For example, someone could sponsor a competition to build the first space labor base station using UAVs. It would provide valuable information to support the design of further human missions to Mars, and it might also stimulate Mars Helicopter flight further research and development in the area of space travel and the utilization of space resources.
In fact, it was NASA that became interested in this technology. At one time, they had been trying to develop the MOL and the Opportunity landers. However, their studies had not taken into account the challenges associated with sending humans to Mars. It would be necessary for them to develop a system which would allow them to select the appropriate landing site for the UAV. Thus, even though they might like to see human involvement at some level in the eventual design of this technology, they would not want to invest too much money unless there were some guarantees that the final product would meet their requirements.
There have been a number of different attempts to make this Mars Helicopter flight work. Some of those efforts have involved developing mock UAVs that could be launched from the United States. Others have involved building miniature versions of the MOL and Opportunity stations which would then be launched from the Chinese mainland. All of these had been in the planning stage before President Bush ordered the NASA to set up a study to determine if such technologies would be worth the investment.
The hope is that in ten or twenty years when all the planning has finally come to an end, a manned flight will be able to take place. The cost of the program, plus the cost of the various subcontractors will come into play as all of the various technologies are tried out. Although there will be a great deal of competition among the companies that make these systems, it would still be relatively modest compared to other space flight initiatives. The flight test promises to be one of the more important milestones for this exciting new technology.