How NASA's Mars helicopter could change the future of space exploration
How NASA's Mars helicopter could change the future of space exploration
5:20

How NASA's Mars helicopter could change the future of space exploration

Science
[MUSIC] Just a few months time humans are gonna be sending a freaking helicopter to Mars that weighs less than this two liter bottle of soda. Why is this mission so important? Well put on your commander gear and let us invade your into those biceps because it's time to do the job. [MUSIC] While we're all stuck in lockdown for who even knows how long NASA, the US space agency is getting ready to explore another planet again, except this time they want to do it by air. Space Agency is dropping off another Martian explorer in early 2021. The rover known as Perseverance. The primary mission of Perseverance is to look for previous signs of life on Mars with a suite of science instruments, but the rover will not be alone. Tucked away in his belly will be a small helicopter or rotorcraft, named ingenuity. Early in the mission, perseverance will spill its guts regurgitating ingenuity onto the red planet, like a mama bird feeding a baby bird. Once ingenuity is released, perseverance will. Roll along on the surface of Mars and get out of its way and shortly after the flight tests will begin. But ingenuity has to overcome some major challenges to take to the skies of Mars. For one, we've never actually flown a spacecraft on another planet before and it's not like as easy as controlling a drone is on Second, Mars doesn't really have much of an atmosphere, it's there but it's super thin. It's about 1% as thick as the Earth's and that means the tech needed to fly is a little different to what we might see down here. Third, Mars really likes to kill our robots. It took poor Spirit And it's taken Viking one and Viking two. Unfortunately Mars is just really cold and really dusty and it's not shielded from the radiation from space. So it's it's really nasty on the surface and forth. You really only get one shot. One opportunity to make it all work fortunately Ingenuity is ingenious, Basically a box with four legs attached to two carbon fiber rotor blades. On top lies an antenna and a solar panel. Like some of our smartphones ingenuity even has a tiny clever processor inside its guts and That's basically it. The remarkably simple flyer is not designed to fly all over Mars. In fact, it's only really designed to fly for short bursts, about 30 to 90 seconds at most. But that's important, because putting a chopper on the surface of the red planet will be useful for scouting missions. Although we can map mass from space, getting up close and seeing what lies ahead will be useful for future rover mission. NASA thinks the ability to see further ahead will actually allow rovers to move across the surface of mass much faster than they have in the past. Opportunity that little rover, which was lost in June 2018 and officially announced dead in February 2019, [MUSIC] Traveled around 28 miles over 14 years. Rovers have to move slowly with NASA engineers on Earth feeding instructions that take about 10 minutes to get to Mars. So Carefully planning the route for a rover is important. Imagine having support by a helicopter that would enable Mars rovers to roll further than ever before and at a much faster Boston pace. On top of that NASA's rovers can't get everywhere. They aren't built like planes they built like cars. And if they want to get up onto a rocky outcrop or the side of a mountain, they have no hope. But a helicopter can do that. And what about when humans finally get to the surface of Mars? Our drone-like scouts won't just be gifts that we give to our martian sons and daughters. But they'll be fully fledged surveyors that can help us get a better understanding of life on the red planet. Now, NASA notes that ingenuity is not actually part of the Mars 2020 mission proper. Perseverance's main goal is to look for signs of past life And then collect samples which can hopefully one day in the future be brought back to Earth. Ingenuity won't play any part in that, it's just a tech demonstration but it's one that aims to prove we can tell a robot to fly ball on its own. It's ingenuity can take to the skies of Mars, it will be quite an impressive achievement. The world's first helicopter, the very unusual VS300, only to apply for the first time in 1939. That's just the touch over 80 years ago. And now we're gonna go fly on the surface of Mars. Now I really think that's something that our good friend on Schwarzenegger would be proud of. If you liked this video, why not hit the subscribe button or check out some of our other cool videos on Mars and Mars rovers

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