Since the Martian atmosphere is only about one percent of the Earth's density, the researchers would have to perform their flight tests at a height of 100,000 feet if they did not rely on the simulator. The 25-foot vacuum cylinder was the better choice, especially as the agency has anyway tested machines for the red planet. In fact, the Curiosity team tested the rover here on Earth.
To mimic the atmosphere of the Martian atmosphere, the team injected carbon dioxide into the chamber after drawing off nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases. They also had to use a gravity-dumping system in the form of a motorized lanyard that pulled up the helicopter as it floated above ground, since Mars had only two-thirds of our planet's gravity.
While the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was only able to cover a total of one minute of flight at a height of 2 inches above the ground, the scientists were able to reach the system and they must be able to do so to say that it will work on Mars. "The next time we fly, we fly on Mars," said Project Manager MiMi Aung. "I watched as our helicopter went through its steps in the chamber, recalling the historic vehicles that had been there in the past, hosting missions from the Ranger Moon probes to the Voyagers to Cassini and to every Mars Rover ever flew in. To see our helicopter there, I remembered that we are well on the way to writing a small part of space history as well. "
Both the Mars 2020 Rover and the helicopter are expected to be released in February The red planet will land in 2021. The helicopter will serve as a demo for future UAVs in space, while the rover will study the geology of the planet, assess the possibilities of life in the past, and collect samples by drilling into its surface.