Source: NASA

NASA has just released a new video, which shows the capability of its helicopter used for the 2020 mission. NASA’s officials say that the chopper is in its final testing phase. This helicopter will be the first heavier than air vehicle to move to another planet.

The Project Manager for NASA’s Mars helicopter, Mimi Aung, says, “No one has built a Mars helicopter before, so we are entering into unknown territory. Our flight model has passed some important tests, and we are quite hopeful.”

The NASA team ran several tests on the flight model in Mars-like surroundings. After that, the helicopter underwent a compatibility test on the delivery system, which will hold the 4-pound aircraft. NASA will deploy the aircraft on the surface of Mars in 2020.

The Mars helicopter doesn’t contain any scientific instruments. Its main purpose is to make sure that life is possible on Mars and that Scientists can control the atmospheric conditions of Mars, from Earth. The helicopter also contains a camera to take high-resolution photos of Mars.

The future Mars missions will consist of aerial helicopters, which could investigate the unknown places of Mars. They could also act as human scouts and explore cliffs, mountains, and deep craters. However, before all that, this test helicopter has to prove its worth.

The Mars helicopter and its delivery system were tested in Denver. The NASA staff made sure that the aircraft fitted into the delivery system easily. The scientist tested both, the helicopter and delivery system, for vibrations and the results were positive. The vacuum testing of the Mars aircraft exposed the helicopter to extremely low temperatures, which can cause the helicopter parts to malfunction.

The Mars helicopter returned to the NASA laboratory in May 2019, for final testing and finishing touches. The NASA engineers installed a new solar panel on the helicopter. The rotator blades of the helicopter have also been revamped, to ensure that the helicopter sustains the pressure of the air and other particles. These are still, the initial tests. NASA staff will conduct more tests in the future.

Aung says, “We expect our final testing of the helicopter, sometime during the summer. The real test will be the 2020 mission.”

The MARs helicopter will launch along with Mars 2020 Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. After it lands on the Jezero Crater in Feb 2021, the helicopter will be the first aircraft in history that can land on its exact point of touchdown.

An interesting feature of this mission is that NASA staff has installed a live public bird’s eye view for the people. You can watch the engineers and the other staff at NASA headquarters make this helicopter and run it through more tests, before its final launch.

The Webcam has been called “Seeing 2020”. Through this, you can enter a live video feed with the NASA staff members. You can also participate in live chat rooms. These web chats will occur from Monday to Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The main mission of the 2020 NASA helicopter is to search for signs of life on Mars, undergo a geological assessment of the planet, and examine the challenges and hazards for future human explorers. Scientists will also collect samples from the rock and soil, encase them in tubes, and leave them for future explorers.

The NASA laboratories, also known as JPL, are working at the NASA headquarters in Washington, to make sure that the mission commences by 2020. The NASA launch Service program will make sure that the launch of the aircraft is successful.

Scientists have avoided flying objects on Mars due to its atmospheric conditions. However, with the latest technology, flying an aircraft on Mars has become possible. Let us hope that the 2020 mission ends in success.