NASA's Mars Helicopter Completes Flight Tests, Ready to Fly to Red Planet
The Mars Helicopter will launch as a technology demonstrator with the Mars 2020 rover on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from the Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
It is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.
Weighing in at no more than 1.8 kilogram, the helicopter contains more than 1,500 individual pieces of carbon fibre, flight-grade aluminium, silicon, copper, foil and foam.
The helicopter is a technology demonstration project currently going through the rigorous verification process certifying it for Mars, which has much thinner atmosphere than Earth's. The planet also drops to icy temperatures that can destroy sensitive electronics.
To ensure that the helicopter copes with those conditions, NASA has created a Martian atmosphere here on Earth -- a 7.62 metre wide vacuum chamber in JPL's Space Simulator, in which carbon dioxide, the chief ingredient of Mars' atmosphere, has been injected.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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