Science

NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission will now include a helicopter

NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission will now include a helicopter

Nasa is sending a helicopter to Mars, in the first test of a heavier-than-air aircraft on another planet, BBC reported.

"It's fitting that the U.S. is the first nation in history to fly the first heavier-than-air craft on another world", said Representative John Culberson (Texas). The planet's very thin atmosphere is not ideal for the flying of helicopters.

NASA will send a tiny helicopter to Mars along with its next rover in July 2020.

The Mars Helicopter's development began in 2013 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. The four-year effort has produced an autonomous rotorcraft powered by lithium-ion batteries and fitted with two counter-rotating blades.

Its fuselage is about the size of a softball, and its twin, counter-rotating blades will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at nearly 3,000 rpm, which is about 10 times the rate of a normal helicopter on Earth.

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According to the source, the Mars Helicopter will be bundled with the USA space agency's Mars rover when it launches in 2020. Blades will spin at 3,000 rpm, 10 times the speed of a helicopter on Earth. That's ten times more than a helicopter on Earth. The height record for a helicopter flight on Earth is 12,100 meters, explained Nasa project manager Mimi Aung.

The chopper will also test Martian aerodynamics to see if it is actually possible to have machines levitate in a planet where the atmosphere is about 100 times thinner than Earth's, reports the Verge.

"To make it fly at that low atmospheric density, we had to scrutinize everything, make it as light as possible while being as strong and as powerful as it can possibly be", she added. NASA had to establish if this innovation was in fact practical and also if the firm had sufficient loan in its budget plan to consist of the helicopter, inning accordance with Spaceflight Currently.

We can wait for what the Mars 2020 mission will explore the Red Planet. But if it does work, helicopters could have a future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel. Mars is about 20 light minutes away from Earth. "With the added dimension of a bird's-eye view from a 'marscopter, ' we can only imagine what future missions will achieve". But the next mission will carry a vehicle with a new approach for planetary exploration: a helicopter.

The aircraft is expected to reach the Red Planet in February 2021, more than half a year after its July 2020 launch.


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