Student: James Wingerter, Undergraduate Student in Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University
Research Mentor: Matthew Nelson
Eagle Eye: Autonomous Mars Drone
Eagle Eye is a proof of concept vehicle designed to assist astronauts while flying within the atmosphere of Mars. The project objective is to create an autonomous coaxial rotorcraft design that will easily navigate the atmosphere and eventually replace traditional ground based rovers. The prototype vehicle will be thoroughly tested within Earth’s atmosphere at 100,000 feet altitude, at which the air density is approximately equal to the air density in the Martian atmosphere. While there are numerous challenges to be overcome with this particular design, the most vital among them will be generating a sufficient amount of lift in a particularly low air density environment. As of current, the vehicle has been lifted up in tandem with the Iowa State’s HABET team, a high-altitude balloon project, and has successfully recorded scientific data throughout the atmosphere up to 100,000 feet while deploying the recovery parachute during decent. Initial propeller testing has begun, and full scale transmission system testing will continue during the Spring of 2017.
To learn more about the Eagle Eye project, visit the project’s website.