July 7, 2014

Dropship offers safe landings for Mars rovers

Posted by tourdemars to Technology at July 7, 2014 12:53 PM

The dramatic conclusion to ESA’s latest StarTiger project: a ‘dropship’ quadcopter steers itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface. StarTiger’s Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets. The Skycrane that lowered NASA’s Curiosity rover onto Mars showed the potential of this approach, precisely delivering rovers to their science targets while avoiding rock fields, slopes and other hazards. “StarTiger is a fresh approach to space engineering,” explains Peter de Maagt, overseeing the project. “Take a highly qualified, well-motivated team, gather them at a single well-equipped site, then give them a fixed time to solve a challenging technical problem.”
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