Why is the world is talking about MARS?
We (Earthlings) landed a new lunar rover on Mars this month. NASA sent a rover named Mars 2020 on July 30th and landed on February 18, 2021. In a new Covid-19 world, it is a welcome distraction. I personally prefer the question of “Why is The World talking about MARS?”, as opposed to anything about Covid.
This is a total of 203 days or just under 6 months. This is funny to me. It is funny because as I sat watching “The Martian” with Matt Damon this last weekend, they were stating that it took 7 months to get to Mars.
This means that back in 2015 when the movie was released, this science fiction movie was estimating a time frame longer than what we are actually doing right now in real life. This might be common knowledge,…… but did you know that?
Now I know that they were referring to manned flights in the Martian, but it’s still pretty cool that it is a shorter time frame than the movie.
Not Just a Rover
This rover is the most advanced ever, and we will get back to that, but the thing that jumps out to me about it is that it has a little helicopter with it! This is being called a helicopter, but isn’t it a drone? Someone correct me here. The cool thing about the helicopter is that it has pitching and rolling foam blades that rotate opposite to each other which omits the need for a tail rotor for direction. I am “nerding” out on this one.
This autonomous helicopter is controlled by using cameras (duh), accelerometers, gyros (not the meaty kind), an altimeter, and an inclinometer…..blah, blah, blah. I am probably losing you here. Basically it uses real time data collected with these tools/gauges to figure out how to fly, and not crash. This is something that we can easily imagine happening now that we are starting to see self driving vehicles way down here on Earth. What it also does is spin its props 2300-2900 rpm. This is about 5 times faster than our Earth Helicopters. That’s fast. Imagine what that would do to a carrot. Oh yeah, it’s solar powered.
The rover is loaded with 19 cameras, and 2 microphones to capture as much of the Mars landscape as possible. This could/would also work to stream a Tegan and Sara concert if they were on Mars. The 6 wheels on The Mars 2020 got a newer tread pattern than its predecessors which is great, but I miss the old Morse code pattern that was on the “Curiosity”. I think function over form prevailed here.
This is a huge topic, and a great surge towards our future in space exploration. It is very exciting.
Last night I walked out to pull the cans to the curb for trash day, and when I looked up I saw the moon. I had to chuckle at it like, “hey, that’s cute.” Our connection to Mars just got a lot closer this month everyone, but I am sure you are tired of reading now.
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