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NASA will send autonomous helicopter on Mars 2020 rover

Washington [United States], May 12 :          When NASA launched its next rover to Mars, it will have a small helicopter onboard to give a bird's eye view of the planet's atmosphere.

The space agency announced that it will be sending a small autonomous flying chopper - called Mars Helicopter - with the Mars 2020 rover.

It will attempt to fly through the Martian air to see if it is possible for vehicles to levitate on Mars where the atmosphere is known to be 100 times thinner than that of the Earth, The Verge reported.

If the helicopter is able to successfully take its flight on the planet, it will provide a rare view of the planet with its two cameras. This will further pave way for sending similar vehicles to Mars in the future to look at regions on the planet which are hard to access.

The Mars Helicopter has been crafted to sustain the Mars atmosphere. It weighs just 1.8 kilograms on Earth and is about the size of a softball. It is equipped with twin blades which rotate 10 times faster than helicopters on Earth. It will try to do five autonomous flights over a 30-day period. These trips could last up to 90 seconds.

NASA's Mars 2020 rover is slated to launch in July 2020 with a projected landing on Mars in February 2021.

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