Drone prototypes and a Mars rover test

Drone prototypes and a Mars rover were teste in ferocious Icelandic gusts.


If Earth testing like this demonstrates it’s possible, robots could cooperate to help astronauts on rocky worlds like the moon and Mars. Drone prototypes and a Mars rover were test in ferocious Icelandic gusts. 

Do you recall the windstorm in “The Martian”?

This summer, Mars drone and rover prototypes were test in Iceland in windy conditions roughly akin to the storm in the 2016 film.  Planetary geologist Catherine Neish, an associate professor at Canada’s Western University, told Space.com, “I’ve never seen such insane winds in my life.” Neish said that the wind was reaching hurricane strength and added, “Drones cannot fly in extreme wind conditions, and in this case the wind was so severe we didn’t want people out there either.”

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 Despite the imaginative license taken by “The Martian,” the storm wasn’t anything one would encounter on the Red Planet, but Neish said it was a crucial step toward getting drones and rovers working alongside humans on the moon, Mars, and other rocky worlds.

Iceland has already established itself as a prime location for analog missions, which try to as nearly as possible mimic the circumstances that humans would experience on deep-space trips. Lava flows, glaciers, and mountains are just a few of the extraterrestrial-looking environments found on the island. Furthermore, because Iceland is a relatively small nation, researchers can visit a variety of terrain types quickly.

Neish’s team investigated a central Icelandic lava flow that erupted at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. Despite the lack of current volcanism on Mars that we are aware of, Neish noted that the advantage of a recent analog site is that it has not degraded significantly because Martian erosion is rather gradual in comparison to Earth’s.

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 We observe a lot of dust and sand on Mars being blown around and deposited on the lava flows, Neish said. “We’ve got this fresh surface being cover over.” There is a glacier close by [our site], and since Mars has a lot of ice as well, it is a wonderful Mars analog.

Source: space


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