The first for the first time a helicopter outside Earth has just contacted an accompanying satellite.
Engineers at NASA's JPL Engine in Pasadena, California, have attached a small Mars helicopter to that of a Mars 2020 Rover car today (28 August), agency officials said.
The duo will launch together in July 2020 and will touch the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet in February 2021. Once Upon a Mars, Solar Powered, 4-pound. (1.8 kilograms) The helicopter will disengage and begin flight test elections.
Related: The NASA Mars Rover 2020 Mission Gallery (Gallery)
"Our job is to prove that autonomous controlled flight can be accomplished in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere "said JPL project manager Mars Helicopter in a message. (Mars air is only 1
"Because our helicopter is designed as a pilot test of experimental technology, it does not carry any scientific instruments," she added. "But if we prove that a Mars flight can work, we look forward to the day when Mars helicopters can play an important role in future exploration of the Red Planet."
For example, helicopters can serve as scouts for robots or human pioneers of Mars. The Red Planet rotorcraft can also carry instruments and carry out various scientific activities, NASA officials say.
Mass 2020, which will soon be gaining a more enticing manager through a student naming contest, will hunt for signs of the long-dead Red Planet Life at Jezero Crater, which in the ancient past hosted the River Delta. The rover will also characterize the site's geology, collect and cache samples for future Earth return, and demonstrate a gear that will generate oxygen from the dominant Martian carbon dioxide, among other tasks.
"With this joining of two great spacecraft, I can say definitively that all the pieces are in place for a historical exploration mission," said Thomas Zurbbuchen, associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, in the same statement in Washington, DC. "Together, Mars 2020 and the Mars Helicopter will help determine the future of Red Planet science and exploration for decades to come."
NASA is planning to launch another rotor ship soon, Dragonfly the dense atmosphere of the huge moon of Saturn Titan. The dragonfly is scheduled to take off in 2026 and land on Titan's frigid surface in 2034. Mike Wall's book on the search for extraterrestrial life, " There " (Grand Central Publisher, 2018; Illustrated by Carl Tate ) is now out. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .