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Tag: Mars

NASA engineers teach Mars rover Curiosity to drill again

NASA engineers teach Mars rover Curiosity to drill again

Science
May 18 (UPI) -- Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are preparing to add percussion to an improvised drill technique already being used by the Curiosity rover on Mars. Curiosity and its drill haven't had a full range of motion since 2016 when one of the drill's motors short circuited. Over the last year, engineers have developed a workaround drilling technique called Feed Extended Drilling, or FED, which uses the rover's robotic arm to direct and push the drill into the ground as the drill bit spins. In February, Curiosity used the FED technique to once again drill into the Martian surface. The effort failed to yield a rock sample, but it was still a partial success, producing data that allowed scientists to fine-tune the method back in the lab. Now, engineers are preparing to ...
Nasa will send helicopter to Mars to test otherworldly flight

Nasa will send helicopter to Mars to test otherworldly flight

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Nasa is sending a helicopter to Mars, in the first test of a heavier-than-air aircraft on another planet.The Mars Helicopter will be bundled with the US space agency's Mars rover when it launches in 2020.Its design team spent more than four years shrinking a working helicopter to "the size of a softball" and cutting its weight to 1.8kg (4lbs).It is specifically designed to fly in the atmosphere of Mars, which is 100 times thinner than Earth's.Nasa describes the helicopter as a "heavier-than-air" aircraft because the other type - sometimes called an aerostat - are balloons and blimps. Soviet scientists dropped two balloons into the atmosphere of Venus in the 1980s. No aircraft has ever taken off from...
NASA plans to send mini-helicopter to Mars

NASA plans to send mini-helicopter to Mars

Technology
NASA plans to send a small, unmanned helicopter to Mars that could boost our understanding of the Red Planet. It is part of the US space agency's 2020 mission to place a next-generation rover on the Martian surface and will mark the first time such an aircraft will be used on another planet.Known as the Mars Helicopter, the remote-controlled device weighs less than four pounds (1.8kg) and its blades spin at almost 3,000rpm, roughly 10 times the rate employed by helicopters on Earth.NASA officials said the aircraft will reach the Red Planet's surface attached to the Mars 2020 rover that aims to carry out geological studies and ascertain the habitability of the Martian environment."NASA has a proud history of firsts," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine."The idea of a hel...
InSight Diary: Mars mission emerges from the mists

InSight Diary: Mars mission emerges from the mists

Science
Prof Tom Pike from Imperial College London is part of the science team on the US-led InSight mission to Mars. His group has supplied seismometers that will enable the Nasa lander to detect "Marsquakes", which should reveal the internal structure of the Red Planet. Over the course of the coming months, Prof Pike will be updating us on InSight's progress. This was surely the best way to see our mission leave Earth, standing in a field in California with 1,500 people from the InSight mission team. We should be able to get a direct view of the launch pad eight miles away. At 4 o’clock in the morning after the final go/no-go checkout was announced over the big screens, the final countdown began. The act I had been desperate to see for the last decade was about to start. But an uninvited, ...
ULA rocket launches NASA's Mars lander

ULA rocket launches NASA's Mars lander

Science
May 5 (UPI) -- NASA's newest Mars mission, the InSight lander, blasted off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:05 a.m. PT (7:05 a.m. ET).A two-stage Atlas V 401 rocket carried the lander and its instruments into space. Because InSight is slightly smaller than typical Mars-bound spacecraft, United Launch Alliance was able to deploy a smaller, lighter rocket.Saturday's blastoff marked the first time a planetary mission has launched from the West Coast. Putting a spacecraft into a Mars-bound trajectory from the Pacific side of the United States requires a bit more thrust, and thus, a bit more fuel.But the smaller, lighter rocket and payload can go farther and faster without expending too much fuel.In all, it will take about six months for InSight to reach Mars. InSight is a lande...