Military Review

Flying robots to study the surface of Mars

At present, the surface of Mars is investigated using special orbital stations, as well as stationary modules or low-speed rovers. Between these research vehicles, there is a sufficiently large gap, which various aircraft could fill. It would seem, why the artificial man-made vehicles still do not fly over the surface of the Red Planet? The answer to this question lies on the surface (in all senses), the density of the atmosphere of Mars is only 1,6% of the density of the Earth’s atmosphere above sea level, which in turn means that planes on Mars would have to fly at very high speeds in order not to to fall.

The atmosphere of Mars is very discharged, for this reason, those aircraft that are used by man when moving in the atmosphere of the Earth, are in no way suitable for use in the atmosphere of the Red Planet. At the same time, surprisingly, a way out from the current situation with future Martian aircraft was proposed by the American paleontologist Michael Habib. According to the paleontologist, ordinary terrestrial butterflies or small birds can become an excellent prototype of devices capable of flying in a Martian atmosphere. Michael Habib believes that by recreating such creatures, having increased their sizes, provided that their proportions are preserved, mankind will be able to get devices suitable for flying in the atmosphere of the Red Planet.

Such representatives of our planet as butterflies or hummingbirds can fly in an atmosphere with low viscosity, that is, in the same atmosphere as on the surface of Mars. That is why they can make very good models for creating future models of aircraft suitable for conquering the Martian atmosphere. The maximum dimensions of such devices could be calculated using the equation of the English scientist Colin Pennisyuik from Bristol. However, the main problems still need to recognize the issues associated with the maintenance of such aircraft on Mars at a distance from people and in their absence on the surface.

Flying robots to study the surface of Mars

The behavior of all floating and flying animals (as well as machines) can be expressed by the Reynolds number (Re): to do this, multiply the speed of the flyer (or swimmer), the characteristic length (for example, the hydraulic diameter if we are talking about a river) and the density liquid (gas), and the result obtained by multiplying the result divided by the dynamic viscosity. The result is the ratio of inertial forces to viscosity forces. An ordinary aircraft is able to fly at a high number of Re (very high inertia with respect to air viscosity). However, on Earth there are animals that "lack" a relatively small number of Re. These are tiny birds or insects: some of them are so small in size that, in fact, they do not fly, but float through the air.

The paleontologist Michael Habib, considering this, suggested taking any of these animals or insects, increasing all the proportions. So it would be possible to get an aircraft adapted for the Martian atmosphere, and not in need of high speed of flight. The whole question is, to what extent would a butterfly or bird be enlarged? This is where the Colin Pennisyuik equation appears. This scientist in the year 2008 offered an estimate according to which the oscillation frequency can vary in the range that is formed by the following numbers: body weight (hull) - to the extent 3 / 8, length - to the degree -23 / 24, wing area - to the extent - 1 / 3, gravitational acceleration - to the extent 1 / 2, fluid density - to the degree -3 / 8.

This is quite convenient for calculations, since it is possible to make corrections that would correspond to air density and gravity on Mars. At the same time, it will also be necessary to know whether we are “forming” the whirlwinds from the use of wings. Fortunately, here too there is a suitable formula, which is expressed by the Strouhal number. This number is calculated in this case as the product of frequency and amplitude of oscillations divided by speed. The value of this indicator will greatly limit the speed of the device in cruise flight mode.

The value of this indicator for the Martian apparatus should be from 0,2 to 0,4, in order to comply with the Pennyuyuk equation. In this case, at the end it will be necessary to bring the Reynolds number (Re) in the interval that would correspond to a large flying insect. For example, in well-studied hawk moths: Re is known for different flight speeds, depending on the speed, this value can vary from 3500 to 15000. In this range, Michael Habib offers to meet the creators of the Martian aircraft.

Solve the proposed system today in various ways. The most elegant of them is the construction of curves with finding the points of intersection, but the fastest and much easier to enter all the data into the program for calculating matrices and solve iteratively. The American scientist does not provide all possible solutions, focusing on the one that he considers the most appropriate. According to these calculations, the length of the “hypothetical animal” should be 1 meter, the mass of the order of 0,5 kg., The relative elongation of the wing - 8,0.

For an apparatus or a creature of this size, the Strouhal number would be 0,31 (a very good result), Re is 13 900 (also good), the lift factor is 0,5 (an acceptable result for cruising flight mode). In order to really imagine this device Habib compared its proportions with duck. But at the same time the use of non-rigid synthetic materials should make it even easier than a hypothetical duck of the same size. In addition, this drone will have to slam its wings much more often, so here it is appropriate to compare it with the midge. At the same time, the Re number is comparable to that of butterflies, which makes it possible to judge that for a short time the apparatus will have a high lift coefficient.

For fun, Michael Habib proposes to admit the fact that his hypothetical aircraft will fly in the manner of a bird or an insect. Everyone knows that animals do not run away on the runway, for take-off they are repelled from the support. For this, birds, like insects, use their limbs, and bats (it is likely that pterosaurs had done this before) also used their own wings as a pushing system. Due to the fact that gravity on the Red Planet is very small, even a relatively small push for take-off is enough - in the 4 area,% of what the best terrestrial jumpers can demonstrate. Moreover, if the pushing system of the device manages to add capacity, it will be able to take off even from craters without any problems.

It is worth noting that this is a very rough illustration and no more. Currently, there are a large number of reasons due to which space powers have not yet created such drones. Among them can be identified the problem of deployment of the aircraft on Mars (can be done using the rover), maintenance and power supply. The idea is quite difficult to implement, which ultimately can make it ineffective or even completely unfeasible.

Plane to explore Mars

Over 30 years, Mars and its surface were examined by a wide variety of technical means, it was examined by orbital satellites, and more than 15 types of various devices, wonder-terrain vehicles and other clever vehicles. It is assumed that soon a robot plane will be sent to Mars. At least, NASA has already developed a new project for a special robotic aircraft designed to study the Red Planet. It is assumed that the aircraft will study the surface of Mars from a height comparable to the height of the Martian all-terrain vehicles, researchers.

With the help of such a Marsolet, scientists will discover the solution of a large number of the enigmas of Mars, which have not yet been explained by science. The aircraft will be able to soar above the surface of the planet at a height of about 1.6 meters and fly many hundreds of meters. In this case, this unit will produce photo and video in different ranges and at a distance to scan the surface of Mars.

All advantages of modern mars rovers multiplied by the potential of exploring vast distances and areas should be combined in Marsolat. Marsolet, which has already received the designation ARES, is currently creating 250 specialists working in various fields. Already, they have created a prototype of the Martian aircraft, which has the following dimensions: the wingspan of 6.5 meters, the length of 5 meters. For the manufacture of this flying robot is planned to use the easiest polymeric carbon material.

This device is supposed to be delivered to the Red Planet in exactly the same package as the device for landing on the surface of the planet. The main purpose of this body is to protect the marsolet from the destructive effects of overheating when the capsule comes into contact with the atmosphere of Mars, as well as to protect the device during landing from possible damage and mechanical damage.

Throw this aircraft on Mars, scientists are planning with the help of proven media, but here they have new ideas. For 12 hours before landing on the surface of the Red Planet, the device will separate from the carrier and at an altitude of 32 km. above the surface of Mars, he will release the Martian plane from the capsule, after that the marsolet will immediately start its engines and, having unfolded six-meter wings, will proceed to an autonomous flight above the surface of the planet.

It is assumed that the aircraft ARES will be able to fly over the Martian mountains, which are completely unexplored by earthlings and conduct the necessary research. Ordinary rovers can not climb mountains, and satellites are difficult enough to distinguish parts. At the same time, in the mountains of Mars there are zones with a strong magnetic field, the nature of which is incomprehensible to scientists. In flight, ARES will take air samples from the atmosphere every 3 minutes. This is quite important, since methane gas was found on Mars, the nature and source of which is absolutely not clear. On Earth, living beings produce methane, while the source of methane on Mars is completely unclear and is still unknown.

Also in MAROLET ARES are going to install equipment for the search for ordinary water. Scientists suggest that with the help of ARES they will be able to obtain new information that will shed light on the past of the Red Planet. Researchers have already dubbed the ARES project the shortest space program. A Martian plane can stay in the air for only about 2 hours, until its fuel is consumed. However, in this short period of time, ARES will still be able to cover the distance of 1500 kilometers above the surface of Mars. After that, the device will land and will be able to continue to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars.

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  1. Yeraz
    Yeraz 25 July 2013 11: 38
    well done amers. In this area, the world community should be united and problems would be resolved faster.
    1. Login_Off
      Login_Off 25 July 2013 13: 22
      What I did not understand ...
      "The Mars spacecraft will be able to hover above the surface of the planet for height about 1.6 meters and fly many hundreds of meters "
      .... Further ....
      "The Martian plane can stay in the air total about 2 hoursuntil he runs out of fuel. However, for this short period of time, ARES will still be able to overcome a distance of 1500 kilometers over the surface of Mars. "
      TOTAL we have. At an altitude of 1,6 meters, in 2 hours, overcome 1500 km ??? Nothing confused the authors of the article?
      1. Lone gunman
        Lone gunman 25 July 2013 18: 29
        most likely a typo of 75 km / h in 2 hours 150 km. is more realistic, airplanes of this purpose and on the ground fly at about that speed ... is there no jet engine there ?!
        1. Lopatov
          Lopatov 25 July 2013 18: 31
          This is Mars. Atmospheric resistance is much less
          1. abrakadabre
            abrakadabre 26 July 2013 15: 25
            And lift too
        2. abrakadabre
          abrakadabre 26 July 2013 15: 25
          I think at 75 km / h in such a discharged atmosphere, the lifting force will be meager for flight stability. Even with the very meager mass of the device.

          In any case, for the sake of a couple of hours of operation of the device, such costs with the development, launch, delivery to nothing. It’s not worth it. It should be designed for much longer periods. For example, if a week flies. Yes, it collects telemetry and scientific data. This will be the result.
    2. Kir
      Kir 25 July 2013 19: 31
      And you didn’t try to look into the Young Technician of the 80s about such a Mars flight with such an extension even then (Aerophysics-glider is just suitable for Mars only if it’s upper then there, respectively), and now I’ll be more than sure
      1 Carbon fiber_ ours, unless we sperdonized and patented ourselves as well as "filling" we had Epoxy for more
      2! The main glider will be designed by our types in the Russian branch, as Boeing and Airbus are doing now, I know for certain since some of my friends work there.
      So there will be a stigma, coupled with honors and awards to amers and our brains and materials !!!
  2. il grand casino
    il grand casino 25 July 2013 11: 38
    Thank you for the article!
  3. USNik
    USNik 25 July 2013 12: 10
    Mars will be able to soar above the surface of the planet at an altitude of about 1.6 meters and fly many hundreds of meters

    Somehow this does not fit with the beginning of the article where it is said that in order to not fall off the classic vehicles, one must fly at high speed. It turns out that ARES will be worn at 1.6m at a speed of 750 km \ h (from the article: 2h and 1500km) over an unknown terrain? Well, well, good luck. Or will he have something like an air cushion? And how do they plan to deal with the wind, which on Mars easily steps over the 100km / h mark?
    1. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 25 July 2013 14: 10
      We can add here that at a speed of 750 km / h at an altitude of 1.6 meters, the scientific component of the flight will be mildly questionable.

      And then. Increasing the size of the apparatus in a linear progression, we increase its mass in cubic. With such a rarefied atmosphere, we come to the postulate of the author at the beginning of the article:
      It would seem, why artificial devices created by man still do not fly over the surface of the Red Planet? The answer to this question lies on the surface (in every sense), the density of the atmosphere of Mars is only 1,6% of the density of the Earth’s atmosphere above sea level, which in turn means that airplanes on Mars would have to fly at a very high speed, in order to not to fall.

      The following: to fool this whole garden for the sake of two hours of flight is too stupid and expensive exercise, with a completely ridiculous exhaust. Mars rover works for months. It’s easier for him to add autonomy and add a mast with the required camera to the required height. Many orders of magnitude more efficient.
      It is also much more efficient to launch an increased-volume balloon from ultra-thin films. He generally does not consume fuel and will be able to fly in the wind stream for years. It will bring data until either it is damaged or the self-contained battery runs out.

      But the drone on Mars is still useful and will fly. Although the author's calculations here are completely sideways.
  4. atomic
    atomic 25 July 2013 12: 34
    Unfortunately, Russia has turned from a space power into a space footman. We deliver cargoes, astronauts to the ISS, that's all! In the field of deep space exploration, amers passed us and do not stand still. It is insulting to the grinding of teeth.
    1. Kir
      Kir 25 July 2013 19: 34
      But the amers posing twirling in the hands of NIKON D3, I had occasion to watch a free channel from nasa, and household and other We should provide them and they only need to lick the cream, it’s sickly and disgusting however !!!
  5. spirit
    spirit 25 July 2013 13: 30
    Amer will not unite with anyone! they do not need it. Now space exploration is not like before. Now it is an INVESTMENT that should pay off with interest. BUSINESS IS BUSINESS.
    Consequently, the lion's share of the received data will remain closed. And the world will throw out the remnants.
  6. Volkhov
    Volkhov 25 July 2013 13: 58
    It's just that there is a lot of air on Mars (atmospheric altitude 300 km, surface pressure more than 2 bar) and you can fly, as well as lie to the population about airlessness and frost.
  7. KononAV
    KononAV 2 August 2013 12: 29
    Cool it's time