A helicopter has been proposed to behave as a low-flying scout on the red planet as means of determining the course of the rover at a small distance on Mars. The design of such a helicopter has been proposed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
The mars rovers have been successful in gathering plenty of data about the red planet, such as its history and composition. But at the moment, the only means of deciding its path by the engineers is through onboard cameras, which limits the vision of the rover.
The only alternative to decide what site on the red planet should the rover be driven next is the spacecraft that orbits the planet. But, the data obtained from the craft orbiting is not too beneficial for deciding the course over short distances.
In such a case, a helicopter will serve as a mid-way between onboard cameras and orbiting craft. The helicopter will be acting as an add on to the mars rovers. Through these add-ons, the rover could travel three times the distance as it covers already. This will aid the scientists on deciding which sites of Mars should be explored.
The helicopter would act as a guide to the rover. It would fly ahead of the rover everyday and send images of various parts of Mars back to the scientists on Earth. The scientists would then analyze the various points of interest and decide the best driving route for the rover.