Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Aviation chatter - For ALL Pilots and Aviation Enthusiasts

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
GRAHAMW
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 844
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:40 am
Closest Airfield: FAUL
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 8 times

Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by GRAHAMW » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:27 am

Graham Wallbridge

The secret to getting ahead is getting started - Mark Twain
vanjast
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 765
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:08 pm
Closest Airfield: 200
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 16 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by vanjast » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:23 pm

Neat little device...
Maybe some upgrades needed.

- radiation hardened, milspec chips (cannot see any there)
- Besides keeping warm at night, keeping cool during the day is going to be an even bigger problem.
Thin atmosphere = reduced heat radiated == heat generated to keep cool == catch22?

My pizza bet --> I don't think it will last very long, if it survives at all.
Kortbroek
Lining Up
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:13 am
Closest Airfield: FAPE
Location: Port Elizabeth
Has liked: 9 times
Been liked: 12 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by Kortbroek » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:16 pm

vanjast wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:23 pm
Neat little device...
Maybe some upgrades needed.

- radiation hardened, milspec chips (cannot see any there)
- Besides keeping warm at night, keeping cool during the day is going to be an even bigger problem.
Thin atmosphere = reduced heat radiated == heat generated to keep cool == catch22?

My pizza bet --> I don't think it will last very long, if it survives at all.
Heat won't be an issue I suspect:
Differing in situ values have been reported for the average temperature on Mars, with a common value being −63 °C (210 K; −81 °F). Surface temperatures may reach a high of about 20 °C (293 K; 68 °F) at noon, at the equator, and a low of about −153 °C (120 K; −243 °F) at the poles.
And in the video they explain all about the radiation shielding etc. I'm impressed you can identify what tech they used from this video.... :mrgreen:
vanjast
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 765
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:08 pm
Closest Airfield: 200
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 16 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by vanjast » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:06 pm

Kortbroek wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:16 pm
.. I'm impressed you can identify what tech they used from this video.... :mrgreen:
It's part of my job.. for the past few decades, besides other distractions like 'flying'. :mrgreen:
These users liked the author vanjast for the post:
Kortbroek
User avatar
Darren
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1145
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:56 pm
Closest Airfield: FAOR
Location: JHB
Has liked: 27 times
Been liked: 33 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by Darren » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:47 pm

vanjast wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:23 pm
Neat little device...
Maybe some upgrades needed.

- radiation hardened, milspec chips (cannot see any there)
- Besides keeping warm at night, keeping cool during the day is going to be an even bigger problem.
Thin atmosphere = reduced heat radiated == heat generated to keep cool == catch22?

My pizza bet --> I don't think it will last very long, if it survives at all.
Remember, the mission is only supposed to last five 90 second flights over thirty days. It doesn't have to be that durable compared to a months-long mission.

The FPGA (ProASIC3L) is mil-spec and radiation-hardened. The remainder of the avionics are COTS, but selected from industrial or automotive components with high-reliability and resistance to single-event latch-ups along with the ability to clear latch-ups on demand, which makes them semi-radiation-hardened. Only the FPGA will be active for the duration of the mission, the others will be cycled as needed.

Yes, it's slightly more risky than going all rad-hard & mil-spec, but it brings down the price substantially and means much newer generation chips can be used. In this case the main processor is a Snapdragon SoC from Intrinsyc, giving them much more interesting on-chip capabilities for relatively low cost.

With regard to thermal protection, there are five separate heating zones with the largest being the battery heaters. The batteries and electronics are thermally isolated from the rest of the fuselage by Ultem spacers (and other low-conductive materials) and CO₂ gas gaps. The entire fuselage is surrounded by kapton film with high absorption and low emissivity, to maximise daytime solar energy absorption and reduce night time heat loss. Both the JPL's own testing and a set of simulations run by a separate team at CalTech and LoadPath confirmed that the electronics have plenty of thermal margin for the needed flight duration. The batteries are within margin too, but JPL's working to improve that as far as possible.

So I think you were being far too flippant. If anyone has experience with Martian conditions it's JPL: Thus far they're still the only organisation that has successfully designed, built, launched, landed, and operated mobile rovers on Mars. They're hardly new at this.

Of course this mission might still fail. Landing on Mars won't become a low-risk or routine thing for a long time, and nobody has ever attempted anything quite like this mission. That's why the rover it launches from will be the primary mission, with the helicopter being a riskier experiment that'll either provide a substantial bonus or send back valuable data if it fails.
vanjast
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 765
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:08 pm
Closest Airfield: 200
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 16 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by vanjast » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:52 pm

Darren wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:47 pm
So I think you were being far too flippant.
Your opinion..
A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link... and you're ok to send this into an environment far worse than any military environment on earth with sub-spec components, and expect it to work - They'll be lucky if it does.
Not to mention all the money spent on this part of the project...
Darren wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:47 pm
If anyone has experience with Martian conditions it's JPL: Thus far they're still the only organisation that has successfully designed, built, launched, landed, and operated mobile rovers on Mars. They're hardly new at this.
That is currently under scrutiny :mrgreen:
Let JPL/NASA provide an unfiltered independent feed of Moon/Mars communication for others to observe.. then we'll agree on that topic. :wink:
User avatar
Darren
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1145
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:56 pm
Closest Airfield: FAOR
Location: JHB
Has liked: 27 times
Been liked: 33 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by Darren » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:40 pm

vanjast wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:52 pm
That is currently under scrutiny :mrgreen:
Let JPL/NASA provide an unfiltered independent feed of Moon/Mars communication for others to observe.. then we'll agree on that topic. :wink:
You'll have to explain that one further, especially given that amateurs have successfully received telemetry from both Moon and Mars missions.
vanjast
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 765
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:08 pm
Closest Airfield: 200
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 16 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by vanjast » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:11 pm

Video feed or general telemetry ? It's much easier to orbit mars than land on it... successfully.

Phobos (~10,000 Km orbit) and Deimos (~25,000 Km orbit) are narrow angles at ~200 x 10^6 km average Mars distance - an orbiting object would look like it is on Mars. In fact the orbiting object is the one that 'communicates' with earth,

If it's video in 'real time'... I have no argument, but I haven't seen/heard of that yet, even from NASA/JPL watchdogs.
I also wouldn't rule out an Earth-Mars-Earth relay as I have little trust in them considering their track record. :D

To install public confidence, if I was SpaceX/Nasa/JPL/ArianeSpace/etc... I'd have an 'independent acceptable' person/company insert a cryptic code into the Drone's/Rover's telemetry. With this confirmed on earth to say it's the genuine thingy, would go somewhat further. :wink:
User avatar
Darren
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1145
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:56 pm
Closest Airfield: FAOR
Location: JHB
Has liked: 27 times
Been liked: 33 times

Re: Mars helicopter - interesting technology

Unread post by Darren » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:36 am

vanjast wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:11 pm
Video feed or general telemetry ? It's much easier to orbit mars than land on it... successfully.
...
To install public confidence, if I was SpaceX/Nasa/JPL/ArianeSpace/etc... I'd have an 'independent acceptable' person/company insert a cryptic code into the Drone's/Rover's telemetry. With this confirmed on earth to say it's the genuine thingy, would go somewhat further. :wink:
Let me guess, you’re one of those people who believes d there’s a huge conspiracy and nothing has successfully landed on the Moon or Mars?

Return to “General Aviation Chatter”