Watch: NASA’s Mars Helicopter ready to fly
The space agency releases footage of final preparations for a historic test of the laws of physics.
Work on what will hopefully turn out to be the first human-made craft to fly and hover on Mars is almost complete, with researchers and engineers now ready for final tests on the NASA Mars Helicopter.
The 1.8-kilogram copter, developed at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US, and tested at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, will be strapped to the belly of the Mar 2020 rover, and deployed once the mission has landed.
The Mars atmosphere is only 1% as dense as the enveloping Earth. A common joke among the helicopter developers is that the laws of physics thus predict that powered flight will be almost impossible – but the reality will be much harder than that.