NASA just got a step closer to finding out, announcing Wednesday that its Mars Helicopter has been attached to the Mars Rover it intends to send to the Red Planet next year. Hence, the 2020 Mars Rover should arrive on the planet in February 2021. If all goes to plan, the helicopter will then become the first aircraft to fly on a planet other than Earth.
The Mars Helicopter will serve a double duty. NASA will use it to see how the conditions on Mars affect aviation. Again to prove that we can fly helicopters, drones and other aircraft on Mars. Once in the air, the camera-equipped copter will then showcase the viability of surveying Mars by sky.
NASA first announced its plan to attach a chopper to its 2020 Mars Rover last year. But it’s been developing the technology since 2013.
A Mars rover is a motor vehicle that travels across the surface of the planet Mars upon arrival. Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, they can be directed to interesting features. They can place themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months. Again, they can advance the knowledge of how to perform very remote robotic vehicle control.
Mars 2020 is a Mars rover mission by NASA’s Mars Exploration Program with a planned launch on 17 July 2020, and touch down in Jezero crater on Mars on 18 February 2021.However, it will investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars and investigate its surface geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability, the possibility of past life on Mars, and the potential for preservation of biosignatureswithin accessible geological materials. It will cache sample containers along its route for a potential future Mars sample-return mission.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_2020
The twin-rotor, solar-powered helicopter was connected, along with the Mars Helicopter Delivery System, to a plate on the rover’s belly. It includes a cover to shield the helicopter from debris during entry, descent and landing. The helicopter will remain encapsulated after landing. Once it find a suitable area to conduct test flights at Jezero Crater, the rover’s destination, it will be deploying to the surface.
The Mars Helicopter is a high-risk, high-reward technology demonstration. If the small craft encounters difficulties, the science-gathering of the Mars 2020 mission won’t be impacted. If the helicopter does take flight as designed, future Mars missions could enlist second-generation helicopters. It add an aerial dimension to their explorations.