Mars Helicopter Of NASA Accomplishes Flight Tests, Set To Soar To Red Planet

NASA’s Mars Helicopter has fruitfully accomplished a sequence of tests and is set to take a trip to Mars, said the US space organization. The Mars Helicopter will liftoff as a technology demonstrator onboard with the Mars 2020 rover in July 2020 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, from the Space Launch Complex 41. It is anticipated to get to the Red Planet in February 2021.

The helicopter, having a weight of no more than 1.8 kg, includes over 1,500 individual pieces of flight-grade aluminum, carbon fiber, copper, silicon, foam, and foil. It is a technology demonstration assignment at present undergoing the meticulous verification process verifying it for Mars—that has a much thinner atmosphere compared to that of Earth. Also, the planet falls to icy temperatures that can devastate sensitive electronics.

To assure that the helicopter survives those setting, a Martian atmosphere is developed here on Earth by NASA—a 7.62-m wide vacuum chamber in Space Simulator of JPL, wherein carbon dioxide, the main component of the atmosphere of Mars, has been introduced. The team, in the Space Simulator, also developed artificial gravity that corresponded what the helicopter would undergo on Mars by developing a “gravity offload system.” It recorded a grand total of 1-min flight time at a 5-cm altitude, verifying that it can function, NASA said.

Likewise, researchers are also suggesting that deep groundwater can still be present on Mars and be the source of surface rivers in Mars’ some near-equatorial regions. The scientists at the University of Southern California have found that groundwater probably exists in a wider geographical region than just Mars’ poles and asserted that there is an active network, as deep as 750 m, from which groundwater arrives at the surface via cracks in the particular craters they examined.

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