Newest Rover Set To Launch Its Mini Helicopter On Mars

Mars' atmosphere is incredibly thin, only 1% of the atmospheric volume of earth, so getting a helicopter to fly in its thin air would be a very big deal.


NSFW    WASHINGTON — After a perfect touchdown via self-destructing rocket cradle, NASA's newest rover is set to start doing some amazing things on Mars. Here are the details:

The BBC reports that the first task of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars is to send back data so technicians can check to see if any systems were damaged during its rough journey.

After that, the rover's mast must be raised. Then, the software that got the vehicle to Mars must be exchanged for software that enables the robot to drive across its surface.

Perseverance's next step would be to take many pictures over the next week, as scientists seek to assess the nature of the nearby terrain.

One near-term objective will be to run a helicopter experiment. Perseverance carried with it a mini-chopper that will attempt to make the first powered flight in another world.

Only after this will the robot get on with the serious business of its mission. It will head to the vast delta feature that scientists want to analyze.

Deltas are built by rivers as they push out into a wider body of water and dump their sediment.

Scientists are hoping that, trapped in the material that built this delta, are the tell-tale signatures of past biology.

The rover will sample this sediment and test it for signs of alien life.
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