NASA helicopter to fly on Mars during next mission

NASA helicopter to fly on Mars during next mission

The space agency is looking to make history by sending the autonomous rotorcraft into the skies on the Red planet.

"NASA has a proud history of firsts", said Jim Bridenstine, the agency's new administrator.

The Mars Helicopter is being envisioned as a major advancement for future exploration of the planet, providing a new way of exploring areas of the Mars surface that are not easily accessible by land.

The helicopter is meant to show the viability and usefulness of aircraft on Mars, NASA explained, together with potential roles because of low-flying scout or to attain areas inaccessible out of the floor. As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk and a high-reward project.

The "Mars Helicopter" weighs less than 1.8kg and its blades rotate more than 10 times as fast as those on Earth. These are powered by lithium-ion batteries charged by solar cells that also help to run heaters to protect the electronics from freezing in the subzero Martian nights. In tests he successfully rose to a height in excess of 12 km, this means that on Mars the Mars Helicopter can fly at an altitude of over 30 km.

Due to the atmospheric difference between Earth and Mars, the helicopter will be the equivalent of 100,000 feet in the air at home when it is on the ground on Mars.

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To get to the Red Planet from earth, this special chopper will be attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover. Mission control will then remotely activate the helicopter's autonomous flight systems.

But JPL has made sure that the Mars Helicopter has everything it needs to courageous the rough environment on the Red Planet. NASA hopes the helicopter will ascend to around 10 feet and hover there for around 30 seconds on its first flight.

"Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the ground, and then fly the mission on its own", she pointed out. He further added, "We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit". It's expected to reach the planet on February 2021.

According to Bridenstine, the success of the "marscopter" may enable more ambitious missions in the future.

The rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. "This is a process that has taken place at NASA Headquarters to decide whether the helicopter should be flown".

We can wait for what the Mars 2020 mission will explore the Red Planet.

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