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#astronomy NASA helicopter hooked up to company’s Mars 2020 rover – Astronomy Now

August 30, 2019 - Comment

With the Mars 2020 rover oriented stomach up in a clear room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, technicians connect the solar-powered Mars Helicopter. The experimental plane shall be carried to Mars in a protecting housing and deployed to the floor after the rover’s touchdown in Jezero Crater in February 2021. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA’s twin-rotor Mars



With the Mars 2020 rover oriented stomach up in a clear room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, technicians connect the solar-powered Mars Helicopter. The experimental plane shall be carried to Mars in a protecting housing and deployed to the floor after the rover’s touchdown in Jezero Crater in February 2021. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s twin-rotor Mars Helicopter and its protecting provider have been hooked up to the stomach of the company’s Mars 2020 rover, now in ultimate meeting on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The helicopter, anticipated to be the primary plane to fly on one other world, will stay encapsulated till after touchdown and deployed to the floor in Jezero Crater.

The solar-powered helicopter is a know-how demonstrator and as such carries no science devices. But when it really works, second-generation helicopters could possibly be added to future Mars missions, carrying devices over areas past the attain of rovers or stationary landers, making close-range observations of difficult-to-reach targets like cliffs, caves and deep craters doable.

“Our job is to show that autonomous, managed flight could be executed within the extraordinarily skinny Martian ambiance,” mentioned MiMi Aung, the Mars Helicopter undertaking supervisor at JPL. “Since our helicopter is designed as a flight take a look at of experimental know-how, it carries no science devices. But when we show powered flight on Mars can work, we look ahead to the day when Mars helicopters can play an essential position in future explorations of the Purple Planet.”

The Mars Helicopter throughout environmental testing in February. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Mars 2020 rover is scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in July 2020. Touchdown in Jezero Crater is anticipated on 18 February 2021.

“With this becoming a member of of two nice spacecraft, I can say definitively that every one the items are in place for a historic mission of exploration,” mentioned Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s director of science operations. “Collectively, Mars 2020 and the Mars Helicopter will assist outline the way forward for science and exploration of the Purple Planet for many years to come back.”



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