The 2020 Mars Rover lifted off of Earth this week, bound for the Red Planet. After seven months of travel, the rover will continue the important science that NASA has been pursuing on the planet for decades.
This time, however, the rover will be carrying with it a lightweight helicopter, the very first attempt at flying a craft on a different planet. The Mars Helicopter is a very lightweight craft, due to Mars’ atmosphere being 99% thinner than that of Earth. That adds a number of difficulties, requiring extra large rotors, a light craft, and also enough battery to fly.
If the flights are successful, they’ll be a test case for future Mars exploration. We’ll report back when the craft is safely on the planet. Via NASA: