The skycrane is outfitted with eight small engines that start firing when the rover is about half a mile up to rapidly slow its fall to just a few miles per hour.“These particular engines are actually a derivative of the original engines developed for Viking landers in the early ’70s, but we've made very significant upgrades,” says Fred Wilson, a propulsion expert at Aerojet Rocketdyne, the company that made the propulsion system for the Perseverance landing system.
Code-named Alia, the electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) airplane is the successor to Ava, a smaller prototype the company used to experiment with propulsion strategies and learn about the tricky aerodynamics of small, electrified, vertical-lift flight.
Nuclear rockets could wind up in space, a researcher unveiled a massive and unfixable iPhone flaw, and US police forces are using doorbell cameras to fight crime.NASA wants to send nuclear rockets to the moon and Mars.
But it’s never dreamed up ion propulsion, a fantastical new way to power robots by accelerating ions instead of burning fuel or spinning rotors. But that’s a ways off, because at the moment the four-thruster machine can produce a bit more thrust than it needs to get its weight off the ground.