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NASA Reveals Helicopter Attachment for Mars Rover

As we start to learn more about our neighbouring planet, various organisations (NASA chief amongst them) are looking to send more advanced robots (or more technically, ‘rovers’) to the surface. Specifically, to see what we can learn and, who knows, maybe even send a person there one day.

Reveals details of their latest design, however, NASA has confirmed that their next Mars Rover will feature a helicopter blade.

NASA Reveals New Rover

The latest Mars Rover design is expected to launch next year. Taking around a year to travel, it will arrive on the Red Planet in late 2021. With the inclusion of the helicopter design, however, it is hoped that it will make exploration of larger areas much quicker. In addition, if successful, it would also represent the first launch of a ‘flight craft’ from the planet. Albeit, at present the design is more of a concept than a guarantee that it will work.

“Our job is to prove that autonomous, controlled flight can be executed in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere. If we prove powered flight on Mars can work, we look forward to the day when Mars helicopters can play an important role in future explorations of the Red Planet.”

Will It Work?

In theory, yes. There are, however, factors that we simply won’t know until we try. For example, Mars is a lot smaller (and less dense) than Earth. As such, it only has around 36% of the gravity we do. While maths and physics can take a pretty good stab at the likelihood of success, we simply don’t know how well it will operate until we try.

If it is a success, however, it could prove amazingly useful for further exploration. With less gravity, less energy would be required to achieve flight which means that rovers equipped with ‘flight equipment’ could explore as much of the surface in days than we have so far in years!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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