NASA Planning To Debut New Helicopter For Mars Mission

NASA Planning To Debut New Helicopter For Mars Mission

NASA Planning To Debut New Helicopter For Mars Mission

When the Mars 2020 Rover lands on Mars, the Mars Helicopter will deploy from the bottom of the space probe.

That will change in 2020 once NASA sends an autonomous flying "rotorcraft" to Mars to go exploring where no rover can check out on foot (or on wheels), which is naturally named the Mars Helicopter.

Both Bridenstine and Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, highlighted the fact that, if successful, Mars Helicopter will be the first heavier-than-air vehicle to fly on another world.

"The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers", said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, in the statement. "The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling".

The Mars Helicopter's development began in 2013 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

Tipping the scales at a little under four pounds (1.8 kilograms), the Mars Helicopter is quite small - its fuselage is no bigger than a softball, NASA pointed out.


The helicopter's twin blades will whirl at about 10 times the rate of a helicopter's blades on Earth - at 3,000 rpm - to stay aloft in Mars' thin atmosphere. The "marscopter" has built-in capabilities to ensure it can function autonomously, as well as solar cells to charge its batteries and a heating mechanism to keep it from freezing during the cold Martian nights. However, since Mars's atmosphere is just 1 percent of Earth's, a helicopter that's just sitting on the surface of the Red Planet is already at the equivalent of 100,000 feet on Earth.

For its trip to Mars, the helicopter will be packed on the underside of the rover. "If it does work, helicopters may have a real future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel". Mission control will then remotely activate the helicopter's autonomous flight systems.

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.

When NASA releases its following vagabond to Mars, the auto will certainly have a tiny helicopter along for the flight. It will also climb to 10 feet (3 m) and hover for about 30 seconds.

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

The rover has six-wheels and is engineered to search for the habitable environments on the Martian surface. "This is a process that has taken place at NASA Headquarters to decide whether the helicopter should be flown".

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