Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

NASA Will Send The First Helicopter On Mars

NASA Will Send The First Helicopter On Mars

Recent NASA missions to Mars have vastly exceeded their expected lifespans and as this helicopter has been equipped with a solar panel to recharge its lithium-ion batteries, plus kit to keep its innards warm enough to work during frigid Martian nights, perhaps we'll see 'copter's-eye views of the red planet for years to come.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Engineers have been trying to ideal the weight and shape of the helicopter for it to be able to fly in the thin air of Mars.

The next vehicle that NASA is sending to Mars is going to be an autonomous helicopter of sorts, where the USA space agency will bundle in an autonomous helicopter into the Mars 2020 rover in order to test airborne vehicles on Mars. The latter is autonomous chopper that will be not only small in size but also a flying one. How it fairs while there will define the future of vehicles as far as Mars is concerned. How will it do that? This will allow the organization to test the viability of using heavier than air crafts on planets other than Earth, which have different atmospheric conditions that may not sustain flight as we now understand it.

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Its goal is to attempt flying while there. Mars Helicopter will be flying in an atmosphere that's as thin as altitudes of 100,000 feet on Earth, compared to an average helicopter on earth which just flies 40,000 feet high. That means that it would be absurd to test real cars over there.

NASA hopes to test their helicopter with test flights from about 10 feet in the air, ranging from 30 to 90 seconds and anywhere from a few feet to a few hundred meters.

The helicopter is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

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