THE MARS-COPTER

First News - - BIG NEWS -

A RO­BOTIC he­li­copter de­signed by NASA to fly in the skies of Mars has passed its flight test.

The he­li­copter, a self-fly­ing drone weigh­ing just 1.8kg, is due to launch with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover next year and will reach the planet in 2021. It is de­signed to take pho­tos from high above Mars’ sur­face.

In Jan­uary the he­li­copter com­pleted its flight test in Cal­i­for­nia, in­side a vac­uum-sealed cham­ber that recre­ates the at­mos­phere and grav­ity of Mars.

Mars’ at­mos­phere is 100 times thin­ner than Earth’s. To stay air­borne in these con­di­tions, the drone comes equipped with ro­tor blades that spin ten times as fast as those of a nor­mal he­li­copter.

If all goes to plan, this will be the first ve­hi­cle ever to fly from the sur­face of an­other planet and will pave the way for more com­pli­cated mis­sions in the future.

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