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Why does NASA send a miniature helicopter to Mars?



Artistic concept of a Marshi helicopter
Illustration: NASA JPL / Caltech

NASA tests the heavier air flight on Mars by sending a miniature robotic helicopter with the upcoming Mars 2020 rover

four-pound Helicopter rotors will rotate at 3,000 rpm, 10 times faster than helicopters here on Earth, according to a NASA release. This is because the Martian atmosphere accounts for only about one percent of Earth's density.

"To be able to fly at this low atmospheric density we had to study everything, be as light as possible and at the same time be strong and powerful." Maybe it can be, "said Mimi Aung, Mars helicopter project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the NASA, in a statement.

But the atmosphere is not the only challenge: Mars is several light minutes away from Earth, so you can not just steer the helicopter with a remote control, instead researchers have to program a list of commands autonomously How to do it for the rovers

The copter will fly up to five times during its 30-day test run on Mars and increase its altitude to about 1000 feet for up to 90 seconds, its first flight lasting 30 seconds and rises to 10 feet.

This is an ambitious, experimental mission that is not critical to the success of Mars 2020, but who If it works, it could offer scientists a new way to explore the Martian surface.

Meanwhile, the Rover Mars 2020 will search for traces of life and analyze rocks. After all, we humans want to visit Mars one day, so it's important to understand the structure and dangers of the planet as well as possible. Mars 2020 will arrive on the red planet in February 2021, if everything goes according to plan.

But if you're hungry for Mars science now, you're in luck. The InSight lander has successfully launched aboard an Atlas V rocket this month and is now heading to our rocky red neighbor. He will arrive at Mars' Thanksgiving this year, where he will be measuring seismic activity to help scientists understand how rocky planets develop. And the European Space Agency's ExoMars trace gas orbiter has just started sending back fabulous images of the Martian surface. Anyway, we're putting a crazy helicopter on Mars!


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