After sending a plethora of landers, orbiters, and rovers, NASA is looking to send a tiny robotic helicopter to Mars in 2020. This helicopter will be an autonomous spacecraft having a meter-long rotor whose size will be of a Chihuahua.
According to the official information given by NASA, this machine will fly in the orbit of Mars 2020 rover. The main motive behind launching this helicopter is testing the technology that requires for flying a rotorcraft about 140 million miles away from the Earth.
There is an extensive amount of research involving resting & redesigning involved in developing a helicopter having the ability to work on the Red Planet. An interesting thing about Mar’s atmosphere is that it is extremely thin that staying at one place only 10 feet above the ground is same as hovering 100,000 feet above the surface.
The maximum height at which helicopters operate on Earth is 40,000 as above this altitude there is not adequate density that can hold them.
In a news release, the Mars Helicopter project manager Mimi Aung state that our team had to scrutinize all the things so that the helicopter can fly at the minimal level of atmospheric density. She further states that they made it as light as possible without compromising with the power & solidity.
They have installed solar cells in the helicopter that will charge its lithium batteries. Additionally, there is an internal heating tool that makes sure it stays warm while passing Martian night where temperatures can reach to -100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The light takes a minimum of 4 minutes and maximum of 30 minutes for light to pass from Mars to Earth. It depends on the position of planets in their orbits. The chances of operating the helicopter remotely can delay due to this. Instead, the commands should be received by the spacecraft from the Earth operations so that it can execute on their own.
There is a drill installed in this helicopter so that it can collect the rock samples, conduct chemical analysis and finding the life on Mars. As per the official information, this spacecraft will touch the Martian surface in February 2021.
There will be no harm to the Mars 2020 mission even if this mini helicopter fails. However, it will be a major setback for NASA who is looking to use rotorcraft as scouts in the future missions.