NASA Chopper Ready for a Spin on Mars


June 06, 2019

Can we fly on Mars?
The laws of physics may say it's near impossible, but actually flying a heavier-than-air vehicle on the Red Planet is much harder than that. NASA's Mars 2020 mission will deliver a technology demonstration that will put the idea to the test -- a helicopter that will perform controlled flight on Mars.

For more about NASA's Mars missions, visit: nasa.gov/mars and mars.nasa.gov

TRANSCRIPT

NASA chopper ready for a spin on Mars. The Mars helicopter is a technology demonstration
That will launch with the Mars 2020 mission.

[Mimi Aung] can we fly at Mars? That has been a question for a long time.

[music]

In theory, if a helicopter is light enough and the blades spin fast enough, it should fly. In the thin martian atmosphere, will this be possible?

After building many prototypes, engineers have built a vehicle they believe Will fly on the red planet.

This is the actual helicopter that will go to Mars. Mars-like conditions are created for flight testing.

Inside a space simulator, the conditions are 1% of Earth's atmospheric density, and 40% of Earth's gravity.

[buzzing]

In January 2019, the helicopter successfully completed its final flight test.

[Mimi Aung] this is a huge milestone for us. But really our job isn't done until we see the same test flight being performed at Mars.

[music]

The next time the helicopter will attempt to fly will be on Mars. If successful, a helicopter could be used for future missions.

[Explore Space Tech]

[NASA]

Credit
NASA/JPL-Caltech

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