NASA will send small autonomous helicopter to Mars in 2020

Pat Wise
May 13, 2018

NASA representatives announced the American space Agency to send a helicopter to the small size of Mars, which can appear on the red planet in 2021.

NASA says this is to demonstrate "the viability and potential" of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet. Now, it wants to prove that it can sustainably fly around the planet's thin atmosphere at low altitude - with a tiny helicopter. Mars's helicopter gives many promises for future scientific exploration missions on Mars, "said NASA commander Jim Bridenstine, who is in charge of the drone machine".

The helicopter will be shuttled to Mars on board a rocket arriving in 2020, but once there it is created to be able to take off autonomously on a series of short flights.

NASA officials also added that the rotorcraft will land on Mars attached to a car-sized rover. Its counter-rotating blades will spin at nearly 3,000 rpm, about 10 times faster than a similar craft here on Earth.

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. According to the agency, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has been working on the "marscopter" project since August 2013.

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The aerial vehicle will come equipped with solar panels that will recharge its lithium-ion batteries and a heating unit to allow it to survive the Martian nights.

"To make it fly at that [altitude], we had to scrutinize everything, make it as light as possible while being as strong and as powerful as it can possibly be", she said.

NASA stated it intends that the 30day flight test interval which could include as many as five flights, so starting with a brief vertical jaunt to hover for around 30 seconds at a elevation of 10 feet (3 meters) and progressing to flight distances upto a couple hundred yards and durations up to 90 seconds.

"We don't have a pilot and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time". He further added, "We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit".

"The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers", Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa's associate administrator for science, said. If it does not work, the Mars 2020 mission will not be impacted.

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