NASA announces a tiny helicopter will travel to Mars in 2020

Уфологи обнаружили на Марсе мертвого пришельца принесенного в жертву

In order to fly in Mars' thin atmosphere, the space helicopter has to be super light, yet as powerful as possible.

After landing several miniature dune buggies on Mars to cruise around the surface of the planet, NASA has decided it wants a birds-eye view next time.

A team of expert designers spent more than four years shrinking a working helicopter to just 1.8kg (4lbs) or roughly the size of a softball. The views from a helicopter flying across Mars will also provide Nasa with a stellar public relations tool as it seeks worldwide support for sending humans to the planet in the 2030s or later.

Soviet scientists dropped two balloons into the atmosphere of Venus in the 1980s.

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To rise into the Mars' thin atmosphere, the helicopter's two counter-rotating blades will turn at almost 3,000 revolutions per minute, or more than 10 times as fast as a helicopter's blades on Earth, NASA says.

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However, its small dimensions will come in handy during its trip to the Red Planet, since the "marscopter" is set to get there attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover.

"The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers", said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency headquarters in Washington. The tiny helicopter will test the capabilities for controlled flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars and is also expected to pave the way for future uses across the solar system. After the rover lands, it will place the helicopter on the ground and move away.

The helicopter consists of solarcells to charge its lithium-ion batteries and also a heating mechanism to keep it warm throughout frigid evenings.

The full 30-day flight test campaign will include up to five flights of incrementally farther flight distances, up to a few hundred meters, and longer durations as long as 90 seconds, over a period.

Mars 2020 is scheduled now to launch sometime in July 2020 with a landing slated for February 2021. But if it does work, helicopters could have a future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel. "We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit".

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