NASA to send helicopter to Mars

NASA намерено отправить небольшой вертолёт на Марс

NASA said Friday it would send "an autonomous rotorcraft" along with a rover on a Mars 2020 mission. For example: the red planet's particularly-weak atmosphere and the communication delay between ground control here on Earth and the rover.

"In fact, our return to the surface of the moon will allow us to prove and advance technologies that will feed forward to Mars: precision landing systems, methane engines, orbital habitation, surface habitation, surface mobility, long duration life support operations and much more that will enable us to land the first Americans on the red planet", said Bridenstine.

The finalised machine weighs in at little under four pounds, and its fuselage is slightly larger than a cricket ball. (1.8 kilograms), and its body is about the size of a softball, NASA officials said in the statement. At a meeting of the National Academies' Space Studies Board May 3, Ken Farley, project scientist for Mars 2020, said he and others on the mission had concerns about flying that technology demonstration.

Despite its small stature, the Mars Helicopter will be well-equipped to fly around Mars: solar cells for charging its lithium-ion batteries, a heater to keep it from freezing during Martian nights, and rotating blades capable of spinning at 3,000 rpm, which is 10 times the rate of a normal sized Earth helicopter.

Nasa is working toward a future when humans will walk on the surface of Mars.

This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle on Vera Rubin Ridge, Mars.

"The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in the statement. During the flight demonstrations, the helicopter's twin, counter-rotating blades will cut through the Martian atmosphere at nearly 3,000 rpm-about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth.

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Once the rover is on the planet's surface, a suitable location will be found to deploy the helicopter down from the vehicle and place it onto the ground. The rover will then drive a safe distance from the helicopter before flight tests begin.

Nasa is sending a helicopter to Mars, in the first test of a heavier-than-air aircraft on another planet.

Mars has only 38 percent of Earth's gravity, but its atmosphere is vanishingly thin compared to Earth's, so the biggest challenge was to design a vehicle that is both light and powerful enough, according to Mimi Aung, the Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL.

Instead, the helicopter will "fly the mission on its own".

"The altitude record for a helicopter flying here on Earth is about 40,000 feet (12,200 meters)".

Mars 2020 is slated to launch in July of that year on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and the mission should arrive at Mars in February 2021.

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