NASA wants to fly a helicopter on Mars

May 13, 2018, 08:56 IST | Agencies

Mars 2020 is planned for launch in July 2020 with an arrival on the surface of Mars expected in February 2021

NASA wants to fly a helicopter on Mars

An illustration of NASA's Mars Helicopter that will travel with the agency's Mars 2020 rover mission. Pic/AFP

Tampa: The US space agency said yesterday it plans to launch the first-ever helicopter to Mars in 2020, a miniature, unmanned drone-like chopper that could boost our understanding of the Red Planet.

Known simply as 'The Mars Helicopter,' the device weighs less than 1.8 kilograms, and its main body section, or fuselage, is about the size of a softball. It will be attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover, a wheeled robot that aims to determine the habitability of the Martian environment, search for signs of ancient life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers.

Mars 2020 is planned for launch in July 2020 with an arrival on the surface of Mars expected in February 2021. "NASA has a proud history of firsts," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement.

"The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling." No nation has ever flown an helicopter on Mars before.

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