‘Martian helicopter’ ready to explore Mars

File NASA

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Researchers have validated the latest tests of an autonomous helicopter, intended to explore the Red Planet with the March 2020 rover.

The Red Planet is expected to soon be visited by an autonomous NASA mini-helicopter, which will be the first stationary flying object to explore the surface of Mars.

Researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), associated with the agency, have validated the latest tests of the small device that will accompany the March 2020 rover in its journey.

“The next time we fly, we will fly to Mars,” JPL project leader Mimi Aung promised in a press release.

Weighing 1.8 kilograms, the helicopter is the size of a tennis ball, but has a solar panel, communication equipment, rechargeable batteries, radiators and a navigation camera.

The tests of the machine were carried out in a special chamber in which the “Martian conditions” had been recreated.

According to Ms. Aung, the helicopter flew twice five centimeters off the ground for a total of one minute, which was enough to prove that it could fly on Mars , where the air is 99% less present.

The aircraft must fly approximately 90 seconds, moving further and further from the rover at altitudes up to 5 meters, to provide scientists with HD and color images.

For its part, Mars 2020 will have for mission to look for traces of life on Mars, as well as to collect samples.

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