Unmanned Helicopters to be sent to Mars from NASA
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Washington sources reported that NASA is planning to send the first unmanned helicopter to Mars in its mission scheduled to launch in 2020, to test the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the red planet. It was started in August 2013 as a technology development project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Mars Helicopter had to prove that big things could come in small packages.
Meanwhile the result of the team's four years of design, testing and redesign weighs in at little less than 1.8 kilograms. Further its fuselage is about the size of a softball, and its twin, counter rotating blades will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at almost 3,000 rotations per minute about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency headquarters in Washington said "Exploring the red planet with NASA's Mars Helicopter exemplifies a successful marriage of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future". Moreover Zurbuchen said "After the Wright Brothers proved 117 years ago that powered, sustained, and controlled flight was possible here on Earth, another group of American pioneers may prove the same can be done on another world”.