Mangalyaan-2 Mission: ISRO Mars Mission Includes Helicopter, Sky Crane, Rover And More

ISRO unveils plans for Mangalyaan-2, aiming to land a rover on Mars with innovative techniques like a sky crane and a Martian helicopter. Read on to learn more about the ambitious mission.
ISRO Mangalyaan 2

Mangalyaan-2 Mission: ISRO Mars Mission Includes Helicopter, Sky Crane, Rover And More | Details

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is aiming for the Red Planet. Building on the success of their historic Mangalyaan mission, ISRO has unveiled its plans for Mangalyaan-2, their next ambitious mission to Mars. This mission has the potential to make India the third nation in the world, after the US and China, to successfully land a spacecraft on Mars. The key detail revealed during a presentation on National Technology Day is ISRO's approach to landing their rover on the Martian surface.

Landing Gear Fit for the Red Planet

ISRO plans to utilise a sky crane, similar to the system employed by NASA's Perseverance rover. This innovative technology allows for a controlled and precise landing, particularly important on a planet with challenging terrain like Mars. Unlike traditional landing methods that rely on airbags or ramps, the sky crane lowers the rover gently onto the surface, ensuring it's upright and ready to begin its mission. ISRO engineers are busy developing their own version of this technology specifically tailored for the Indian rover.

ISRO's Martian Helicopter

But ISRO's ambitions don't stop there. They are also developing a fully functional helicopter designed to fly in the thin Martian atmosphere. This rotorcraft, still in the conceptual stage, will be equipped with various scientific instruments. Nicknamed "Martian Boundary Layer Explorer" or "MARBLE," this aerial vehicle will be capable of reaching altitudes of up to 100 metres, allowing it to study the unique characteristics of the Martian atmosphere.

A Crucial Communication Link

To ensure smooth and uninterrupted communication between Earth and the Mars mission, ISRO plans to deploy a relay communication satellite ahead of the launch. This satellite, launched aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, will act as a bridge between Mars and Earth, relaying signals and ensuring scientists on Earth can stay connected with their Martian explorers.
It's important to understand that communication with Mars isn't instantaneous. The time it takes for signals to travel between the two planets varies depending on their relative positions in their orbits around the Sun. At their closest point (opposition), signals can take between 3 and 22 minutes to travel one way. However, at their furthest point (conjunction), communication can be significantly slower, with signals taking anywhere from 6 to 44 minutes to travel one way. This relay satellite will help bridge this distance and ensure a more consistent flow of information.

A Rover for Mars

While details haven't been released yet, ISRO is also developing a rover as part of the Mangalyaan-2 mission. This rover will likely be equipped with various scientific instruments to study the Martian surface, its composition, and potential signs of past or present life. The combination of the rover, helicopter, and sky crane represents a significant leap forward in ISRO's space exploration capabilities.
The Mangalyaan-2 mission signifies a bold step forward for ISRO and Indian space exploration. By attempting to land a rover and deploy a helicopter on Mars, ISRO is pushing the boundaries of its technological capabilities and joining the elite group of nations actively exploring the Red Planet.
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