In the summer of 2020, NASA plans to launch the Perseverance rover on Mars, on board of which the Mars Helicopter drone will be placed -
According to NASA, the Mars Helicopter is notIt will carry no tools and will not collect data about the planet: the main task of the device is to take to the air on Mars, where its composition is very different from the earth.
In a new work, the researchers proposed to sendtogether with the Mars Helicopter a swarm of small probes that are comparable in size and weight to a fruit fly. Devices consist of "nanocardboard" and levitate when bright light falls on them.
Probes consist of two layers of material - whenone side of the device heats up under the influence of light, and the other remains cold, air begins to circulate in the space between them, passing through corrugated channels. This allows the probe to rise into the air and levitate until the exposure to light ceases.
“The passage of air through thesemicrochannels are caused by a classic phenomenon called thermal creep. Due to the temperature gradient, the rarefied gas flow accelerates along the channel wall - this leads to the fact that our device rises into the air ”
Howard Hu, lead author of the study
Tests of the apparatus in the near-Martian environmentshowed that he is really capable of flying into the air. Now researchers are trying to create miniature sensors that will allow the probe to collect data on the presence of water and methane on the planet - key signs of life.
Previously, Hi-Tech spoke in detail about the mission of NASA and ESA to deliver Martian soil samples to Earth.