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May 12, 2018

NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars to get a bird’s-eye view of the planet

When NASA launches its next rover to Mars, the vehicle will have a small helicopter along for the ride. NASA announced today that it will be sending a small autonomous flying chopper — aptly named the Mars Helicopter — with the upcoming Mars 2020 rover. The helicopter will attempt to fly through the Martian air to see if vehicles can even levitate on Mars, where the atmosphere is 100 times thinner than that of Earth.

The design for the Mars Helicopter has been in the works for the last four years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but the space agency had yet to decide if it was actually going to send the vehicle to Mars. NASA needed to determine if this technology was actually feasible and if the agency had enough money in its budget...

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