NASA sends a helicopter to Mars

NASA sends a helicopter to Mars

In what appears to be a new tradition of sending pioneering technology demonstrations on its high-profile interplanetary missions, the agency has just unveiled its plans to extend the payload of the Mars 2020 mission and send a helicopter to the Red Planet.

The helicopter will ride with the rover attached to its underbelly, notes the report.

Soviet scientists dropped two balloons into the atmosphere of Venus in the 1980s.

The surface of Mars: could these images prove LIFE exists on the Red Planet? The flying vehicle looks like a hybrid of a helicopter and a drone. The Martian atmosphere is so thin that the altitude of the helicopter at takeoff on Mars already corresponds to an altitude of 30,500 meters on Earth.

Once the rover is on the planet surface, a suitable location will be found to deploy the helicopter down from the vehicle and place it onto the ground.

He likened it to Sojourner, NASA's first Mars rover, which was about the size of a microwave oven and trundled around Mars in 1997.

Jim Bridenstine in a statement conveyed, "The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling".

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The 1.8 kilogram (3.9 pound) chopper is "a high-risk, high-reward project", the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) said in a statement on Friday.

NASA says its twin, counter-rotating blades "will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at nearly 3,000 rpm - about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth".

A successful test could open the door to using helicopters as scouts on future missions, surveying terrain that might be hard for rovers to navigate and even accessing locations that are unreachable via ground travel.

"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", Aung added.

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. Mars is about 20 light minutes away from Earth. Eventually, the auto will certainly attempt to do 5 self-governing trips over a 30-day duration; the journeys can last approximately 90 secs.

"Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the ground, and then fly the mission on its own", Aung explains.

The rover has six-wheels and is engineered to search for the habitable environments on the Martian surface.

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