NASA is working on a helicopter for future Mars missions

January 26, 2015 7:08 PM

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Humanity has successfully delivered a few probes and rovers to Mars, making its surface quite the haven for robots. However, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is toying with the idea of taking to the skies on Mars with a remote-controlled helicopter. Such a mission would come with higher risks, but also correspondingly higher rewards.

Mars is far enough away (between 3 and 22 light minutes) that it’s impossible to control a probe in near-real time. Mission managers have to submit carefully crafted control routines all at once, then wait for a response back from the robot. When you’re talking about a rover racing around the surfac...

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