NASA plans to send mini-helicopter to Mars

An artist's impression of the Mars Helicopter on the Red Planet. Pic: NASA

NASA plans to ship a small, unmanned helicopter to Mars that would increase our understanding of the Purple Planet.

It’s a part of the US area company’s 2020 mission to position a next-generation rover on the Martian floor and can mark the primary time such an plane can be used on one other planet.

Referred to as the Mars Helicopter, the remote-controlled gadget weighs lower than 4 kilos (1.8kg) and its blades spin at virtually three,000rpm, roughly 10 occasions the speed employed by helicopters on Earth.

NASA officers stated the plane will attain the Purple Planet’s floor connected to the Mars 2020 rover that goals to hold out geological research and confirm the habitability of the Martian setting.

“NASA has a proud historical past of firsts,” stated NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“The thought of a helicopter flying the skies of one other planet is thrilling.”


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Controllers on Earth will command the Mars Helicopter, which is designed to obtain and interpret instructions from the bottom.

Plans are being laid for a 30-day flight take a look at, with 5 flights going incrementally additional every time.

“The altitude document for a helicopter flying right here on Earth is about 40,000 ft (12,100 meters),” stated Mimi Aung, Mars Helicopter mission supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“The ambiance of Mars is just one % that of Earth, so when our helicopter is on the Martian floor, it is already on the Earth equal of 100,000 ft up (30,500 meters),” she added.

NASA says that if profitable, the Mars Helicopter could possibly be a mannequin for scouting on future Mars missions, in a position to entry locations the human-built rovers can’t attain. If it fails, it won’t influence the Mars 2020 mission.


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“The flexibility to see clearly what lies past the following hill is essential for future explorers,” stated NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator for the science mission directorate.

“We have already got nice views of Mars from the floor in addition to from orbit. With the added dimension of a chicken’s-eye view from a ‘marscopter’, we will solely think about what future missions will obtain.”

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