The NASA has announced that they will send a helicopter to Mars, the first in history to fly on a different planet, next to the new rover that will launch to the Red Planet in just two years. Its name is the “Mars Helicopter” and has been specially designed to fly in the light martian atmosphere.

NASA JPL has been developing the technology since 2013 and they now aim to launch it to Mars in 2020 together with the new rover.

Animation of Mars helicopter and Mars 2020 rover.
Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech

According to NASA, the helicopter will demonstrate the “viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.”

“NASA has a proud history of firsts,”

“The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”

– NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

The Mars Helicopter weighs just under 2 kilos (4 pounds), with twin, counter-rotating blades that will hit the thin atmosphere on Mars at about 3,000 rpm, which is about 10 times the rate of a helicopter flying on Earth.