68 votes
Accepted

How can a Mars helicopter be autonomous if there isn't a Martian GPS?

Edit: The JPL Mars Helicopter Scout will use inertial navigation: The inconsistent Mars magnetic field precludes the use of a compass for navigation, so it will use a solar tracker camera ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 127k
36 votes

Could a helicopter fly on Mars?

There's nothing like seeing it flying in a Mars-density chamber to answer your question: Crazy Engineering: Mars Helicopter I have a really nice video of it in controlled flight in the chamber, but ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
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34 votes
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Could a helicopter fly on Mars?

Gravity is about a third of Earth's and competitive aerobation helicopter models have a truly excessive power surplus. Just look at this. There won't be any manned helicopter flight. The helicopter ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
31 votes

How can a Mars helicopter be autonomous if there isn't a Martian GPS?

GPS is one of several possible technologies available for assisted navigation. It's commonly used on commercial drones because the framework is in place and GPS signal is usually available on Earth. ...
OnoSendai's user avatar
  • 636
25 votes
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Weird 2010s concept for a helicopter/rocket hybrid

It was Rotary Rocket, the prototype vehicle was called the Roton. It's older than you remember, they went out of business in 2000. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_Rocket Their ideas proved ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
23 votes
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How does Ingenuity measure its altitude when flying?

From multiple sites, but for the following quote, ScienceMag.org references a laser altimeter: (emphasis mine) The data began to trickle in at 6:40 a.m. ET, relayed by the Perseverance rover to ...
fred_dot_u's user avatar
  • 1,870
16 votes

How can a Mars helicopter be autonomous if there isn't a Martian GPS?

I've reused some material from this answer here to show that the MARS 2020 rover will land on Mars using optical navigation in part. A helicopter can use similar environmental learning techniques ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes
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Perseverance Rover to drive carefully for months while helicopter hangs from underside?

The helicopter and the deployment assembly are protected by a "debris shield" which is only dropped shortly before helicopter deployment. This shield is formed out of carbon fiber and fully ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
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11 votes

Perseverance Rover to drive carefully for months while helicopter hangs from underside?

No, Perseverance will not drive for months with the helicopter stowed on its underside. From the Surface Phase of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch Press Kit I got the information below. The first 30 ...
Cornelis's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

What is the pop-up circular disk with spiral pattern in this NASA animation of the Dragonfly helicopter for Titan? Antenna? Kind, band, target?

Quick answer, bit short of time atm: What is the pop-up circular disk with spiral pattern in this NASA animation of the Dragonfly helicopter for Titan? Is it a high gain antenna? If so, what kind, ...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
9 votes
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For how long could the Mars helicopter Ingenuity keep up with the Perseverance rover if it wanted to?

There are two parts to this question. The first is, can it physically keep up? As you mentioned, the range of 300 m per flight is specifically stated. From this page, we can deduce that one 90 second ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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9 votes
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Will the Mars 2020 rover be able to record high-framerate video of its helicopter?

MASTCAM-Z uses the KAI-2020 sensor Sensor Data Sheet which can be read out at 18-35 Hz frame rate. The camera has 8 GB of flash memory that can be used to store video before it's trickled over to the ...
Terrance Yee's user avatar
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9 votes
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Could a Roton-like SSTO work?

I think you misunderstand the nature of the helicopter blades. While they did intend to land under aerodynamic lift on the blades at the very end of the landing path, for takeoff they actually wanted ...
geoffc's user avatar
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9 votes

Could a helicopter fly on Mars?

You can calculate the hover power required out of ground effect by using the following formulas: Given $m$, the mass of the helicopter, the required lift force is $L = g_{Mars}\cdot m$ The required ...
Arturo's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes

Could a helicopter escape Titan?

Good luck getting a helicopter hypersonic. You need more than 2,600 m/s to escape Titan. The speed of sound on Titan is 194 m/s.
Loren Pechtel's user avatar
9 votes

Does Ingenuity rotate via differential rotor speeds or differential angles of attack?

Hackaday has a well-written article describing nicely the control system for Ingenuity. Another way in which Ingenuity differs from terrestrial multicopters is in the flight control systems. Where ...
fred_dot_u's user avatar
  • 1,870
8 votes

Why not a landing platform with solar cells on the Mars 2020 rover for the helicopter scout?

Mars Helicopter Scout is "just" a demonstration mission to show that it is possible to operate an airborne vehicle on Mars. It has very limited capabilities, such as the total weight of only 1.8 kg. ...
asdfex's user avatar
  • 15k
8 votes

Does Ingenuity rotate via differential rotor speeds or differential angles of attack?

As @fred_dot_u's answer shows from a blog post, the control mechanism is two swashplates. The manufacturer of the six motors that control the swashplates confirms that: Six DCX precision micro motors ...
ymb1's user avatar
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8 votes

How can they be so sure that Dragonfly will "freeze to death" as opposed to simply (and eventually) running out of RTG power? (238Pu decay)

The RTG makes heat, which is used in two ways in missions to cold places: Through thermocouples to generate electricity, and through waste heat. Some of the waste heat is cycled through coolant loops ...
Wayne Conrad's user avatar
8 votes
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Manned helicopter on Mars

If we look at order of magnitude and use momentum theory, rotor thrust can be computed as follows. Above pic is fig 2.5 of Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics by J. Gordon Leishman. Thrust T is ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 196
7 votes

Will the Mars helicopter be able to remove the dust from solar panels?

The Mars 2020 rover uses a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator for power, so it doesn’t have any solar panels. It looks like the helicopter has its solar panel on top of the rotor. Flight ...
CourageousPotato's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Why make Ingenuity survive some "brutally cold Martian nights" before its first attempt at flight?

First of all, according to Fig. 2 from Multi-model Meteorological and Aeolian Predictions for Mars 2020 and the Jezero Crater Region the nighttime surface and atmospheric temperatures for Ingenuity ...
Cornelis's user avatar
  • 7,503
7 votes

What is the pop-up circular disk with spiral pattern in this NASA animation of the Dragonfly helicopter for Titan? Antenna? Kind, band, target?

I am the designer of this antenna at JHUAPL. It is actually still under development, and the slot pattern shown is an artist's rendition and would not result in a working antenna. The current ...
MBray's user avatar
  • 71
6 votes

Can the NASA Ingenuity Copter record video with its camera?

NASA just confirmed in the press conference that the copter can transmit colour video, around 18:44 GMT in this video link (approx 49 minutes from the start)
tomh's user avatar
  • 713
6 votes
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Is Mid-Air Deployment of the Mars Helicopter Feasible?

It’s possible, but far too risky to be called feasible. In theory, the concept is no different from previous missions that have used an aeroshell / parachute to slow to reasonable speeds then ...
Quentin Clarkson's user avatar
5 votes

How can a Mars helicopter be autonomous if there isn't a Martian GPS?

Inertial navigation with occasional "fixes" to reset position to within desired accuracy limits. Fixes can be photos of ground, positions of stars, radio triangulation or input from external tracking ...
refry's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes

Why make Ingenuity survive some "brutally cold Martian nights" before its first attempt at flight?

First of all, Ingenuity has to survive the nights until it can be properly deployed on the surface, although it has power from Perseverance to do so. This probably isn't a significant issue, it has a ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
5 votes
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Does the Dragonfly project (quadcopters on Titan) envision attached RTG's or would they be static and revisited for charging?

The RTG will be part of the helicopter. The helicopter will weigh 420 kg (early estimate). Dragonfly will be a helicopter-only mission, there's no ground station. This is the landing configuration, ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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