Mars helicopter readies for liftoff

U.S. & World

NASA is preparing to send a helicopter to Mars. It would be the first heavier-than-air vehicle to fly over another world.

NASA announced the Mars Helicopter’s mission this month, but it’s been in development for years.

Engineers think they’ve found a way to fly a helicopter through an atmosphere so thin, it compares to an altitude of 100,000 feet on Earth, where no existing helicopter could possibly fly.

The chopper has two counter-rotating blades that spin 3,000 times a minute, 10 times faster than helicopters on Earth.

“If we want to get as much science as we can, as fast as we can, we need to get really good at using robots,” Jim Bridenstine said.

Bridenstine, NASA’s new administrator, recently said the helicopter will fly attached to a rover on a mission known for now as Mars 2020.

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