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.


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.


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.


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.

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

[Explore space tech]




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