How well can a vehicle fly in the Mars atmosphere? NASA just got a step closer to finding out, announcing Wednesday that its Mars Helicopter has been attached to the Mars Rover it intends to send to the Red Planet next year. The 2020 Mars Rover should arrive on the planet in February 2021, and if all goes to plan, the helicopter will then become the first aircraft to fly on a planet other than Earth.
The Mars Helicopter will serve a double duty. NASA will use it to see how the conditions on mars affect aviation, and to prove that we can fly helicopters, drones and other aircraft on Mars. Once in the air, the camera-equipped copter will then showcase the viability of surveying Mars by sky.
“Our job is to prove that autonomous, controlled flight can be executed in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere,” said MiMi Aung, manager of the Mars Helicopter project. “If we prove powered flight on Mars can work, we look forward to the day when Mars helicopters can play an important role in future exploration
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