NASA tries an 8-rotor Dragonfly drone that’s going to Titan

NASA tries an eight-rotor Dragonfly drone that’s going to Titan:NASA is developing a more sophisticated flying vehicle to investigate Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, using the knowledge gained from its ground-breaking Ingenuity Mars helicopter.

Dragonfly is the size of a compact automobile and has eight rotors, while Ingenuity just has one and is only 19.3 inches tall.

Titan’s thick atmosphere will make it easier for a research team led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland to fly in than Mars’ far thinner atmosphere. The flying machine will be able to maintain its altitude because to its low gravity.

NASA tries an eight-rotor Dragonfly drone that's going to Titan
NASA tries an eight-rotor Dragonfly drone that’s going to Titan

NASA’s Patricia Talbert provided an update on Dragonfly’s development recently. She stated that the mission team has been visiting the space agency’s Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia, on a regular basis to test out Dragonfly’s flight systems inside the facility’s various wind tunnels. The data collected from these tests has helped the team refine the aircraft’s design.

During their most recent visit to NASA Langley, the team tested a half-scale Dragonfly with an emphasis on two specific flight configurations: forward flying over the moon’s surface and the Dragonfly’s descent and transition to powered flight upon reaching Titan.

Test lead Bernadine Juliano of APL stated in a release, “We tested conditions across the expected flight envelope at a variety of wind speeds, rotor speeds, and flight angles to assess the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle.” “In all, we finished over 700 runs, collecting over 4,000 distinct data points. Before extrapolating to Titan circumstances, the data will assist boost trust in our Earth-based simulation models, which met all test objectives with success.

NASA’s lone mission to reach the surface of another ocean world is called Dragonfly. After taking out from Earth in 2027, it is anticipated to arrive at Titan in 2034. Titan and the very early Earth are comparable in certain ways, and scientists are hoping that Dragonfly, with its array of cameras, sensors, and samplers, may uncover information that will help us understand how life on Earth may have started.

“We’re transforming science fiction into exploration reality with Dragonfly,” stated Ken Hibbard, an APL mission systems engineer for the programme. “The mission is coming together piece by piece, and we can’t wait to send this ground-breaking rotorcraft across Titan’s skies and surface with each new phase.”

 

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