Drones on Mars: Skypersonic’s Exams on Mt Etna

Skypersonic Validates Drone Technology on Mt Etna for Future Use on Mars

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby

Skypersonic is a subsidiary of Red Cat Holdings. Red Cat Holdings [NASDAQ:RCAT] is held in the AdvisorShares Drone Technology ETF [NYSE ARCA:UAV], the only ETF dedicated to the drone economy. The AdvisorShares Drone Technology ETF is a thematic investment strategy seeking to capture the growth opportunities in drones and autonomous vehicles (AV). AdvisorShares is a DRONELIFE sponsor.

Drone inspection leader Skypersonic successfully tested its software and hardware on Mt Etna, an active volcano in Sicily where the terrain is comparable to the geology of Mars.

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In 2021, Skypersonic signed a five-year contract with NASA for the supply of drone and rover software, hardware and support for NASA’s forthcoming simulated Mars mission.

Skypersonic’s “Skycopter” drone, capable of being piloted remotely in nearly any location, was flown by the Skypersonic team on Mt. Etna as part of a test that lasted 15 days. Utilizing Skypersonic’s Long Range Real-Time Remote Piloting System, the drone and rover on Mt. Etna were piloted in real time by operators based in Houston, Texas. While most drones require a GPS connection, the technology employed by Skycopter can control and track drones in locations without GPS availability.

“This was a grueling test that we passed with flying colors. We look forward to the ultimate test – on Earth, at least – when our technology will be used during NASA’s upcoming yearlong simulated Mars mission,” said Giuseppe Santangelo, CEO of Skypersonic. “We are confident of also passing this test. During the simulated Mars mission, four crew members living and working in a 1,700-square-foot module on Earth, called Mars Dune Alpha, will carry out a series of missions – including remotely guided exploration and collection of specimens from rugged terrain elsewhere on Earth , up to thousands of miles away.”

The test’s results, which involved the rover collecting samples as would be necessary when exploring Mars, were showcased to the Italian media at a press conference this past July. The conference was held on Mt. Etna near the Catania Astrophysical Observatory, with both Santangelo and Etna Park’s executive volcanologist Dr. Salvatore Caffo in attendance for the demonstration. This demonstration was a joint effort from Skypersonic, the University of Turin and Etna Park.

Read more about Skypersonic and Red Cat Holdings:

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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