The NASA helicopter, which is destined to fly to Mars, has completed another round of important tests and is expected to be integrated with the rover in the trip to Mars, which will take place in the summer of 2020.
Building a spacecraft heavier than air to fly to Mars is quite a difficult task, because Mars' air is much thinner than Earth's and temperatures are too low.
Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is conducting various tests throughout 2019 on a specially built helicopter, in order to integrate with the rover that will go to Mars. They have built "a simulated Aryan environment" and test the helicopter at temperatures as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius, as well as in conditions that simulate both the density of Martian air and its quality (CO2 is the main component). In the video below you will also see it attached to a string that helps simulate the gravity of Mars.
Some of the tests were to ensure that the helicopter could survive the conditions it would face during a real rocket launch that would carry it.
The helicopter passed the flight test and now "wears" his new solar panel. NASA says it does not place scientific instruments on the helicopter other than, of course, a camera, but its purpose is to prove that it is possible for a drone to fly from Earth. Somewhere here, those of you who own a drone must be feeling a little weird with the word "range".
The 2020 mission to Mars is scheduled to begin in July 2020 and arrive on Mars on February 18, 2021. You can not go together, but you can submit your name to Nasa to engrave it on a silicon chip to be mounted on the rover.
The main destination for the mission is the Jezero crater, where NASA hopes the rover will find signs of ancient life.