A partnership of geospatial data company FYBR Solutions and non-profit organizations The Mars Institute and the SETI Institute will work with NASA on the research and development of unmanned aerial vehicle technologies for future Mars missions.
The team will collaborate with NASA’s Haughton-Mars Project to study the potential uses of UAV platforms on Mars, the SETI Institute said Monday.
The NASA HMP is an international field research project located on Devon Island, Canada that facilitates field studies in an effort to advance Mars science and exploration.
“On the HMP, we’re putting drones through practical field tests of the many applications we envision for them on Mars,” said Pascal Lee, director of NASA HMP and a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute.
UAVs may serve as robotic explorers on Mars and cover greater ranges than rovers while facing fewer terrain obstacles, the SETI Institute noted.
Drones could also perform scouting, imaging, aerial mapping, remote sensing, sample retrieval and search and rescue operations, among others.
The partnership seeks to develop operational strategies and flight system requirements for route planning, mapping, and exploration of remote locations on Mars.
The HMP plans to conduct research with FYBR drones and software technologies in the 2018 field season and beyond.