Last week, NASA completed a major test of the Mars Helicopter program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If all goes well, it will be launched next year along with the Perseverance rover. NASA has previously launched several rovers on the surface of Mars, some of which are still in operation.
(Pictured: NASA / JPL)
Late last week, NASA conducted a 50 rpm cruise test of the Mars helicopter at the airlock.
The agency had planned to begin a new mission this summer, but the latest schedule has been adjusted to arrive on Mars on February 18, 2021. Perseverance’s main mission is to find evidence of life on Mars, such as the diversity of microbes.
In late August 2019, the Mars helicopter was first fixed to the Severto rover. It is powered by a dual rotor and solar panels, connected to the belly of a rover with a shield.
In the initial announcement, NASA described the absence of a high-risk, high-return technology. Even if the helicopter doesn’t work as smoothly as expected, it won’t affect other scientific missions.
The helicopter will not be operational until the final deployment location has been determined. NASA plans to conduct a test flight to the Jezero crater on Mars, where The Perseverance will eventually live.