The Rover that will fly to the red planet in 2020 is ready. NASA engineers brought him this week his final touch: a helicopter.
The NASA officially announced yesterday that she had successfully attached a helicopter to the Rover of the future mission March 2020. The helicopter will be the first aircraft to fly in the atmosphere of another planet.
A major role in the exploration of Mars
The Rover March 2020 has just been equipped with a small autonomous helicopter which could mark the beginning of extra-terrestrial aviation. Baptized the Mars Helicopter, the aircraft will be the first to test how an aircraft can to fly in the harsh conditions of the Martian atmosphere.
The engineers hope to prove with this first test that" a autonomous and controlled flight can be performed in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars. The helicopter will also have the mission to examine the red planet from the sky, thanks to a embedded camera.
If successful, this first Martian flight experience could provide new ways for scientists tolearn more about Mars. "If we prove that the motorized flight on Mars can work, we look forward to the day that Mars helicopters can play an important role in future explorations of the red planet. " These small and agile devices can indeed reach more difficult areas of access, like craters and cliffs.
Light, powerful and autonomous
In order to fly in the Martian atmosphere and stay above the ground, the aircraft must be at once light and powerful. Totally autonomous, it is equipped with solar cells who will charge his batteries. It also has a integrated heating system which will prevent it from freezing in freezing weather.
The Rover and his helicopter will land on Mars in February 2021. Thomas Zurbuchen, director of operational sciences at NASA, said he was very optimistic: "Together, Mars 2020 and the Mars Helicopter will help to define the future of science and exploration of the red planet for decades to come. "