Mars cannot be called an uninhabited planet, because its surface has been plowed by human rovers for decades. Next summer, an apparatus called “Mars 2020” will fly there, which will search for the remains of microbes that could live on the Red Planet millions of years ago. In addition to a set of cameras and all kinds of sensors, the first helicopter in history to fly on other planets is attached to this rover. NASA's space agency is not yet sure if it can fly under Martian conditions, but how else to check it, if not by experience? Something seems to be coming up.
The duo of the Mars rover and helicopter will be launched in July 2020 using the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. The vehicles will fly in outer space for about a year and will descend to the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021. Researchers attached the helicopter to the lower part of the rover and protected it with a solid body so that it would not be damaged while traveling through interplanetary space.
How is NASA exploring Mars?
The end point for the devices will be a Martian crater called Gesero. Researchers have chosen this site because pristine rocks older than 3.6 billion years old may remain on its surface. It is possible that after a couple of years, the robotic arm "Mars 2020" will unearth the remains of an ancient creature, which can be called an alien. Honestly – we look forward to the day when we can write news about the find of the first Martian.
While the rover will begin its work almost immediately after it hits the planet, the helicopter will not be released until a couple of months after arrival. After dropping the aircraft, the rover will move some distance from it, so that it calmly opens its blades and prepares for its first flight. In total, NASA plans to conduct about five 4.5-meter flights lasting 90 seconds.
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Helicopter capabilities to explore Mars
The helicopter will not perform important scientific research. In addition to the 13-megapixel camera, he has practically nothing. Well, the helicopter will not show us any interesting scientific discoveries, but it will certainly please with new pictures of Mars from unusual angles. Also good.
If everything goes well, the agency will begin to think about how to use the helicopter in Martian conditions. In any case, it is very cool that the study of Mars will take place not only on the surface, but also in the air. Just think – scientists will have the opportunity to look where land rovers cannot reach. Of course, the first colonists in protective suits will someday be able to reach such places, but of course no one wants to put their lives at risk.
And now, the most interesting: How will the NASA Martian helicopter fly?
Soon, the Mars 2020 device should receive a new name. It is currently being invented by children from American kindergartens and schools. The deadline for applications expires November 1, 2019, so children should hurry up. The winner will have an amazing prize – he will be allowed to watch the launch of the rover from Space Launch Complex 41, which is located at the US Air Force base at Cape Canaveral (Florida).