I want to share something with you all today.
A comic about robots.
More specifically, A comic about adorable space robots.
Not only do human try to find a story in everything, we also try to find ourselves in the world. In other words, we try to project our “humanness” onto non-human things or creatures. From talking to our dogs, to naming our cars, and to even giving our Mars rovers their very own Twitter accounts—making something “more human” deepens our love and care for these things.
Space robots are no expectation.
When Cassini crashed into Saturn, when the Voyagers sailed into interstellar space, and when Opportunity went into its well-deserved retirement, millions of people bade bittersweet farewells to these hunks of metal that we have grown so fond of. There is something charming and endearing about a piece of space hardware simply doing its job, venturing into the great unknown, and uniting people all over the world for the sake of knowledge.
The Mars Helicopter Technology Demonstrator (aka MHTD, aka this bad boi) holds a special place in my heart. Over the fall/winter of 2019, I was fortunate enough to be part of the team working on the planned successor of the MHTD, which is the tentatively named the Mars Science Helicopter (or Fred and George. Don’t ask.). As a result, I did a sh*t ton of research on the MHTD to catch up to speed.
Long story short: I created this comic (my first ever!) featuring the MHTD as part of my Brooke Owens Fellowship submission, and would love to share it with the world. Consider this my Valentine’s gift to ya’ll 😘
BACKGROUND INFO: In 2020, the currently unnamed Mars 2020 rover will launch for the red planet. Attached to its belly is a special passenger: the Mars Helicopter Technology Demonstrator. Weighing just under 2 kg, this first-of-its kind rotorcraft will detach from the rover and take the first ever powered flight that is not on Earth.
The MHTD is currently scheduled to execute 5 flights, each lasting ~90 seconds each, over the course of 30 days. During these flights, the MHTD will collect valuable data for scientists and engineers to use in order to build more efficient aircrafts tailored to Mars.
DISCLAIMER: Artistic liberties have been taken with this comic. “Mars 2020” is not the rover’s official name. The MHTD is not meant to travel particularly great distances. The rover and marscopter is scheduled to land on Mars in early 2021.