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Austrian researchers help create mini-helicopter to assist mission to Mars03:50

Austrian researchers help create mini-helicopter to assist mission to Mars

Austria, Klagenfurt
August 3, 2020 at 23:55 GMT -00:00 · Published

Findings from a team of researchers at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria have helped in the development of a mini-helicopter, or drone, to assist NASA's mission to Mars, where it will be able to operate independently, without GPS​.

The researchers showcased a 'surrogate' version of the mini-helicopter at the university, on Monday.

The project shows that "you can fly a drone on an alien planet with a very thin atmosphere," said Stephan Weiss, professor at the Institute for Intelligent Systems Technologies and co-developer of the mini-helicopter.

According to Weiss, the drone can mainly "fly where a ground trip is not possible," which means that new areas can be explored on Mars, thus gaining new views of the planet. The information can then be transmitted back to Earth.

The drone has multiple sensors which allow it to localise itself "autonomously" and "independently" during the take-off process, the mission itself and the landing process, he pointed out.

Austrian researchers help create mini-helicopter to assist mission to Mars03:50
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Description

Findings from a team of researchers at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria have helped in the development of a mini-helicopter, or drone, to assist NASA's mission to Mars, where it will be able to operate independently, without GPS​.

The researchers showcased a 'surrogate' version of the mini-helicopter at the university, on Monday.

The project shows that "you can fly a drone on an alien planet with a very thin atmosphere," said Stephan Weiss, professor at the Institute for Intelligent Systems Technologies and co-developer of the mini-helicopter.

According to Weiss, the drone can mainly "fly where a ground trip is not possible," which means that new areas can be explored on Mars, thus gaining new views of the planet. The information can then be transmitted back to Earth.

The drone has multiple sensors which allow it to localise itself "autonomously" and "independently" during the take-off process, the mission itself and the landing process, he pointed out.

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