NASA sending first autonomous helicopter to Mars in 2020

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The robot will give scientists a bird's eye view of the surface of the red planet. Blades will spin at 3,000 rpm, 10 times the speed of a helicopter on Earth. According to the agency, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has been working on the "marscopter" project since August 2013. However, since Mars's atmosphere is just 1 percent of Earth's, a helicopter that's just sitting on the surface of the Red Planet is already at the equivalent of 100,000 feet on Earth.

" The idea of a helicopter flying the heavens of yet another universe is thrilling", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained in a declaration. Its blades will spin almost 3,000 litres, approximately 10 times the rate employed by helicopters on the planet. The vehicle will be called "Mars Helicopter".

"Exploring the Red Planet with NASA's Mars Helicopter exemplifies a successful marriage of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future", said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA. The helicopter also contains solar cells to charge its lithium-ion batteries and a heating mechanism.

Yet also if the helicopter can not fly, it will not impact the total goal of the Mars 2020 vagabond- the follower to NASA's Inquisitiveness vagabond which is now on the Red World's surface area.

The mission is planned for a launch in July 2020 and is scheduled to arrive on the planet in February 2021 to study the potential for Mars to be inhabited.

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The Mars Helicopter will be attached to the rover when it leaves Earth. Controllers from Earth will deliver commands to the helicopter to take its first autonomous flight after its batteries are charged and tests are conducted.

Once the helicopter is placed on Mars, the rover will move to a safe distance and relay commands.

"We don't have a pilot and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time", Ms Aung said.

NASA will test the drone for 30 days to see how it performs in an environment unlike Earth. The first will go up about 10 feet and hover for 30 seconds. Once on Mars, the rover will deploy it on a suitable surface and drive away where it will have to unpack itself and attempt a flight.