Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA's Next Red Planet Rover Mission

NASA is planning to send a helicopter to Mars in July of 2020

NASA officials explained the rotorcraft will hit the Red Earth's surface connected with the car-sized rover.

What started as a technology development project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in August 2013, has become The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft which will travel with the agency's Mars 2020 rover mission, now scheduled to launch in July 2020 and be the first heavier-than-air craft on another world.

Yet also if the helicopter can not fly, it will not impact the total goal of the Mars 2020 vagabond- the follower to NASA's Inquisitiveness vagabond which is now on the Red World's surface area.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described the prospect of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet as "thrilling", while Zurbuchen compared the mission to the Wright brothers pioneering flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. "The Mars Helicopter holds much guarantee for our future scientific research, exploration, as well as expedition objectives to Mars". As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk and a high-reward project.

To handle the planet's atmosphere, scientists have equipped the aircraft with rotating blades that are almost 10 times faster than those of a typical helicopter, clocking in at 3,000 rpm (revolutions per minute). Solar cells will charge its lithium-ion batteries.

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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The rotor craft weighs in at only 1.8 kilograms, and it will fly to Mars attached to the underbelly of the rover. After the rover lands, it will place the helicopter on the ground and move away. Then it will take its very first autonomous flight in Mars and make history. NASA hopes the helicopter will ascend to around 10 feet and hover there for around 30 seconds on its first flight.

That would be a boon to any future missions to take samples on Mars and return them to Earth for analysis.

The Mars 2020 vagabond is slated to introduce in addition to an Atlas V rocket, made by the United Release Partnership, from Cape Canaveral, Florida in July 2020.

NASA announced that it's sending a helicopter to Mars in a little over two years. "With the added dimension of a bird's-eye view from a 'marscopter, ' we can only imagine what future missions will achieve".

The Mars 2020 Project at JPL in Pasadena, California, manages rover development for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The surface of Mars: could these images prove LIFE exists on the Red Planet?

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