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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 integrated to JPL's visual inertial navigation system. Some additional inputs might include gyros, visual odometry, tilt sensors, altimeter, and hazard detectors.[15] ...


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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 I can't find that one on the interwebs yet. Update two years later: Thanks SF for this link to nice video.


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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 power scales poorly with size - there's a reason we have no VTOL Jumbo Jets. But the same up-scaling issue is our friend when down-scaling. A 6kg helicopter can ...


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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. It requires a flotilla of satellites around our planet to work, though - something we don't have (yet) around other celestial bodies. In that case we need ...


21

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 orbiters above and back to Earth. Cheers erupted 12 minutes later among Ingenuity’s small team of engineers and scientists when confirmation of a successful flight ...


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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 developed for robots on Earth. This isn't a perfect example, but it gives the idea that the robot builds up a map over time. At each point you can identify the ...


12

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 encompasses the entire helicopter and deployment assembly. The upper lip of this bucket- or violin-case like shield is pressed against the bottom panel of ...


10

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 sols after landing will be a commissioning phase within which the rover will perform a short drive test. After that Perseverance will need to find a flat area ...


10

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, how does it work, what band will it use and "who" will it talk to? As you rightfully guessed, it is also mentioned in the answer you linked to: It is a ...


9

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 rover computer and then scheduled for downlink. NASA Mars 2020 MASTCAM-Z Description. This is not a standard mode for the camera, but it would be possible for ...


9

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.


9

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 most quads only have fixed-pitch rotor blades and use differential motor speed to achieve pitch, yaw, and roll control, Ingenuity uses a pair of swashplates to ...


8

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 with a diameter of 10 millimeters are responsible for moving the swashplate and hence adjusting the inclination of the rotor blades - i.e. for controlling the ...


7

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 to use the blades as centrifugal pumps. One of the really hard part of rocket engines is the need to build a pump that can move fuel and oxidizer at the ...


7

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. the helicopter is just an additional feature, but nothing like an integral part of the mission. Slamming 2 kg of material on top of a rover with delicate ...


7

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 flight per day will cover the 300 meter distance. No doubt some of that power will be reserved for the first few seconds of flight, but it seems quite likely ...


7

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 will not drop below minus 90 degrees Celsius. Also,this paper shows that Ingenuity has been tested in thermal vacuum at minus 90 degrees Celsius for 4 hours and ...


7

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 or heat pipes to keep things warm; the excess is radiated. The electricity can also be used to run heaters. As the RTG ages and the plutonium within it ...


6

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)


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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 vibrations will likely remove dust sufficiently. The helicopter may be able to remove dust from the rover for other reasons, but the main concern there is avoiding ...


6

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 $L = g_{mars}*m$ The required shaft power is: $Power (Watts) = (L^{3/2} / R * \sqrt{( 2 / (\pi * density) )})/FM$ where $R$ is rotor diameter and FM is the "figure of Merit". For a small ...


6

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 switched to a different system such as airbags or skycrane for landing. Rockets need decent stabilization for a successful landing too. However, there are a few ...


6

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 computed as: $$T = C_T \cdot \rho \cdot A \cdot \Omega^2 \cdot R^2$$ with: $C_T$ = thrust coefficient; $\rho$ = air density [kg/m$^3$]; A = rotor disk area [m$^2$];...


5

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 stations, not just satellites. An inertial platform will have gyros for rigidity, accelerometers to sense changes in velocity (acceleration) and gimbals to ...


5

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, you can see the helicopter is the only object inside the aeroshell, i.e. the only object that will land.


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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 protected case to allow it to survive EDL which will be ditched prior to deployment. It should be fine there for a while. Then it has to be deployed, and ...


5

It doesn't "know" where it is. It instead estimates where it is, with the quality of the estimation degrading with time. It is using a 21st century equivalent of the "dead reckoning" techniques that enabled the Age Of Sail. (In other words, it's using a Kalman filter that lacks position and attitude updates.) From How NASA Designed a ...


5

Presuming that we could build on what we learned from Ingenuity, and we built, launched, and landed a copter platform that was designed to autonomously map the surface of Mars, what challenges would it be worth undertaking? You are asking for far too much, and because you are asking for far too much, you are missing the point of Ingenuity, and its follow-on ...


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