NASA is planning to send a new Mars-rover in 2020, which should arrive in February 2021. Unlike the previous rover, Curiosity, this one isn’t going alone. To keep it company, a small (1.8 kilograms) helicopter will be attached to the belly of the rover.
It’s been in development since 2013, and the little guy has a 30-day flight test ahead of it, to test its capabilities. Because the air is thinner on the Red Planet, than on Earth, the blades have to rotate at 3000rpm, which is about 10 times faster than a regular helicopter.
‘The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers,’ said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. ‘We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit. With the added dimension of a bird’s-eye view from a ‘marscopter,’ we can only imagine what future missions will achieve.’