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Space & Astronomy

NASA reveals details of Mars 2020 helicopter

By T.K. Randall
March 25, 2019 · Comment icon 8 comments

For the first time ever, a helicopter will be going to Mars. Image Credit: NASA / JPL
The tiny chopper is set to become the first man-made aerial vehicle to fly through the skies of another world.
Flying a helicopter on Mars is particularly challenging, not least because its thin atmosphere - even at surface level - is equivalent to flying at an altitude of 100,000ft here on Earth.

To make it possible to fly on Mars, engineers at NASA, who have been working on the project for the last six years, have had to make the chopper extremely light and extremely strong.

At around the size of a softball, the helicopter will weigh a meager 4lbs and its rotor blades will spin at a whopping 3,000 rpm - that's ten times faster than those of a typical helicopter on Earth.
To avoid a command delay, the tiny vehicle will fly autonomously and undertake short flights of up to 90 seconds. It will be equipped with its own solar panels and batteries for heat and power.

NASA hopes to send it on a total of 5 flights, however it's possible that it could do more.

"Whatever the future holds for flight in our atmosphere, the skies above Mars, or over any other planet that's out there, we're ready to share the skills and expertise we've gained over decades of aeronautics research," said NASA's Susan Gorton.



Source: Astronomy Magazine | Comments (8)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword 5 years ago
Oh how bleeping cool is that?
Comment icon #2 Posted by CigaretteSmokingMan 5 years ago
Why? Just, why?? What a waste of money
Comment icon #3 Posted by Seti42 5 years ago
The music in the video isn't dramatic enough.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Calibeliever 5 years ago
Do you mean the entire Mars exploration endeavor? Or just this particular ROV?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Helicopter are far than efficient... but going vtol is quite useful. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
No runways or airstrips on Mars. A winged aircraft could, conceivably, be launched by a catapult but with nowhere to land it would make one flight only. VTOL is not useful, it's essential.
Comment icon #7 Posted by CigaretteSmokingMan 5 years ago
Just the ROV. Mars exploration is fascinating and needed imo.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
An hybrid design could be better but long wing is difficult to carry to Mars, folding them it's an option but with risk... Yep VTOL is essential, simple but not efficient.


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