1 of 2 parts

IIT alumnus creates chopper that will fly over Mars

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 03-04-2020
Heart It
IIT alumnus creates chopper that will fly over Mars
IIT alumnus creates chopper that will fly over Mars, iit alumnus creates chopper that will fly over mars,  new invention,  new technology,  iit alumnus,  mars,  indian institute of technology,  bob balaram,  ifairer
An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Bob Balaram has created a space chopper that will fly over the Martian skies. The Mars Helicopter created by him will ride to Mars this summer with NASA's Perseverance rover. It is currently at Kennedy Space Center waiting to hitch a ride to the Red Planet this summer. In the 1990s, Balaram, a robotics technologist with 35 years of experience attended a professional conference, where Stanford professor Ilan Kroo spoke about a "mesicopter," a miniature airborne vehicle for Earth applications that was funded as a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts proposal.

This led Balaram to think about using one on Mars. He suggested a joint proposal with Stanford for a NASA Research Announcement submission and recruited AeroVironment, a small company in Simi Valley, California. The proposal got favourable reviews, and although it was not selected for funding at that time, it did yield a blade-rotor test under Mars conditions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA. Other than that, the idea "sat on a shelf" for 15 years.

Charles Elachi, then director of JPL, attended a conference where the University of Pennsylvania presented about the use of drones and helicopters. When he returned to JPL, he asked whether something like this could be used on Mars. A colleague of Balaram's mentioned his previous work in that area of research. Balaram dusted off that proposal, and Elachi asked him to write a new one for the competitive call for Mars 2020 investigation payloads. This sped up the process of developing a concept.

Although the helicopter idea was not selected as an instrument, it was funded for technology development and risk reduction. Mimi Aung became Mars Helicopter project manager, and after the team worked on risk reduction, NASA decided to fund the helicopter for flight as a technology demonstration. Balaram described the construction of the chopper as a perfectly blank canvas, but with restrictions. According to him, his physics background helped him envision flying on Mars, a planet with an atmosphere that is only 1 percent as dense as Earth's.

He compared it to flying on Earth at a 100,000-foot (30,500-meter) altitude - about seven times higher than a typical terrestrial helicopter can fly. Another challenge was that the copter could carry only a few kilograms, including the weight of batteries and a radio for communications. "You can't just throw mass at it, because it needed to fly," said Balaram.
IIT alumnus creates chopper that will fly over MarsNext
Tags :
iit alumnus creates chopper that will fly over mars, new invention, new technology, iit alumnus, mars, indian institute of technology, bob balaram, ifairer

Dare To Share

  • Shameful Regret
    He is planning to divorce his wife and probably marry me. However, he has transferred the three parcels of land and a car they have into my name...
    Read More...
  • Creepy Mystery
    'When I couldn't work this machine at the gym one day, a middle-aged guy came over and said, 'Let me help!'...
    Read More...
  • Shameful Walk
    I had been flirting with this cute guy who was the DJ for the night at a friend's party. He agreed to play my fave song and dared me to do my sexiest dance across the room...
    Read More...