American scientists have created prototypes of new devices that will help map caves on Mars. Astronauts can live here.
Scientists from Arizona State University, USA, inspired by the famous German folk tale “Hansel and Gretel”, decided to use the “technology” of scattering “bread crumbs” in caves on Mars to better study them. Such caves are of interest both in themselves, and they can also become a potential place for equipping dwellings for astronauts, writes New Atlas.
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Even on Earth, exploring cave systems is a very difficult and risky undertaking. And if such a study is carried out on another planet, then this complicates the task even more. Therefore, American scientists decided to create new rovers that can perform accurate mapping of cave depths using, as scientists called them, a kind of “bread crumbs”.
Many people know the tale about the boy Hansel and the girl Gretel, who, in order not to get lost in the forest, marked their path with real bread crumbs. Inspired by this fabulous story, the researchers decided to apply the same “technology” to the study of cave systems on Mars.
According to Wolfgang Fink of Arizona State University, his team is now working on a group of rovers to perform cave mapping tasks on the Red Planet. First, the main rover will be created, inside of which there will be several small rovers. This “head of the family” will have to drive up to the entrance to the cave, drop his “children” to the surface and wait for them at the entrance. Small rovers will go into the cave system in different directions and will study all the passages of the cave.
First, the main rover will be created, inside of which there will be several small rovers. This “head of the family” will have to drive up to the entrance to the cave, drop his “children” to the surface and wait for them at the entrance. Small rovers will go into the cave system in different directions and will study all the passages of the cave.
Photo: New Atlas
All data received by these “babies” will be transmitted via radio signals to the main rover. But due to the fact that the radio signal may not normally pass through the local hard rock, the so-called “breadcrumbs” will come in handy. This is the name given to the small wireless communication devices that the “cave” rovers will drop along the way at different intervals of distance. Thus, the signal will be transmitted from one device to another, and then will be received by the rover at the entrance to the cave.
Where exactly to leave these “breadcrumbs” small rovers will decide for themselves, everything will depend on how strong the signal remains. These rovers will be able to transmit their position data, photos of the area, as well as data from deeper scans of local rocks, the scientists say. When the main rover receives all the information, its onboard computer will process it and, as a result, create a detailed map of the cave system on Mars.
Scientists have already created working prototypes of new rovers along with new communication technology and are now testing them.
Photo: New Atlas
According to Fink, this information will be useful not only for further scientific research of the Red Planet, but also in order to assess which caves can be equipped as dwellings for astronauts. Scientists believe that using such underground structures for the life of colonists will be easier and cheaper than building new buildings on the surface of the planet.
As for the small rovers that will explore the caves on Mars, their fate, alas, is sad. They will not go back after transferring all the information, but will move forward until they run out of either a charge or breadcrumbs. Or they will be stopped by an insurmountable obstacle. Scientists have already built working prototypes of the new rovers, along with the new communication technology, and are now testing them.
As for underground structures, as Focus already wrote, the Zhurong rover was able to detect some of them on Mars. These structures turned out to be hidden craters, as well as underground formations still unknown to scientists.
Focus also wrote about how dangerous for human life and health is the journey to the Red Planet and life on it. According to scientists, the flight to Mars is associated with numerous risks that can lead to death.
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