Picture credited by JPL.
NASA has finally arrived on a decision to send a helicopter to space. The agency was contemplating the issue even though work on the helicopter is in progress. NASA announced on May 11 that it would send a helicopter to Mars on the Mars 2020 mission.
Even though the helicopter called the Mars Helicopter will send information back to earth, the primary objective of the addition is not for that purpose. NASA wants to use this opportunity to test whether helicopters can fly in the Martian atmosphere.
According to NASA, the primary instrument that will send data to the earth is the Mars 2020 rover. In that case, even if the helicopter fails, the agency has nothing to worry about.
However, it would be excellent news if the helicopter works since the helicopter will capture rare images; bird-eye-view images of the red planet. The aircraft has two cameras, and that will facilitate the taking of the photos.
It is an already established that the Martian atmosphere is different from the atmosphere of the earth. The air on Mars is about a hundred times thinner than the air on earth. The difference in the air on both planets make a considerable difference for flying objects.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA is the lab in charge of building the aircraft. The JPL started work on the helicopter four years ago, but NASA has now decided to send the aircraft to deep space.
Due to the nature of the air on Mars, JPL engineers are working to get a tiny helicopter. It should weigh at most 1.8, and they are expecting that its size would be that of a softball. The aircraft will journey with the rover, and the rover will deploy the Mars Helicopter when they land on Mars.
NASA is doing a lot to explore Mars; the agency sent two rovers in previous exploration missions. The two rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity launched in 2004 and 2012 respectively. In May this year, NASA also launched its Insight lander.
The lander will focus on studying the interior of Mars and also check for Marsquakes. NASA hopes to understand planet earth better by studying about Mars.
The Mars 2020 rover will launch in July 2020. It would launch aboard one of ULA’s Atlas V rockets from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rover will eventually land on Mars in February 2021.