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NASA will send tiny helicopters to Mars • The Register

VID Why crawl when you can fly? Because flying in a thin atmosphere is tough, but Mars 2020 will try anyway

  NASA illustration of the helicopter on the mission Mars 2020

Illustration of the Mars 2020 helicopter on Mars. Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA has announced that its Mars 2020 mission will include a small helicopter.

The charm of a copter is obvious: it will be faster than a crawling robot, see below and should (19659005) While the Bernoulli principle holds on Mars, the atmosphere of the red planet is much thinner than that of the Earth so a helicopter needs to be lighter and turn its blades faster to get a lift. NASA has therefore developed a machine with blades that "bite at nearly 3,000 rpm into the thin Martian atmosphere ̵

1; about ten times as fast as a helicopter on Earth," weighs only 1.8 kg and has a "hull … something like that big as a softball "

NASA planned a" 30-day flight test campaign "with five flights. For starters, the helicopter will climb to 3 feet, hover for 30 seconds and then dismount. Subsequent flights will reach "up to a few hundred meters and a longer duration of up to 90 seconds".

The ship will be autonomous, but will have a wireless connection to the Mars 2020 Rover to exchange data.

YouTube video

The copter is immaterial, and if it fails, the rest of the mission will go well.

As Russian missions throw Venus balloons into the atmosphere, this helicopter will be the first powered aircraft and the first human-engineered vehicle heavier than air to visit another planet.

Recently, NASA missions on Mars far exceeded their expected lifecycle, and when this helicopter was equipped with a solar panel to charge its lithium-ion batteries, plus a kit to keep its innards warm enough to stand on icy Martian nights to work on, maybe in the next few years we will be "Copter-Eye-Views". see the red planet. ®

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