The Mars helicopter

This is a fascinating development. The link is an animation video showing how this would work. It is not clear to me what would happen if the helo is blown over on its side. Perhaps the Martian atmosphere is not thick enough for that?

If they succeed in flying this thing just once they will have learned all they need from the experiment. pl

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8 Responses to The Mars helicopter

  1. Mel says:

    If they fly it (or have flown it?) near earth at 35km, maybe from a balloon, they could have some idea how it’s going to work, perhaps.

  2. Joseph Chaisson says:

    See this NASA video that shows (at about 1/2 way through this) an indoors test flight in a chamber at Mars atmospheric density.

  3. Mike A. says:

    Rotor speed is ten to twelve times faster than that of a CH47 Chinook in order to compensate for Mars thin atmosphere. And reportedly in this experiment it will not fly higher than ten feet. So how badly will that rotor wash stir up that infamous Martian dust and obscure camera footage?

  4. Barbara Ann says:

    Surface atmospheric pressure on Mars is of the order of 7mb – less than 1% of sea level pressure on Earth. Surface atmospheric density is 1/60th of ours. Viking experienced wind speeds up to around 60mph in dust storms, which I guess might feel like a light breeze on Earth (wind pressure increases as the square of the velocity). The plot device stranding Matt Damon on the red planet thus used a good deal of artistic license. That said, this thing must be so light I guess being blow over may be a risk. Aerial POV footage from another world will be quite something.

    • Pat Lang says:


      I suppose that the rover could tip it back up onto its feet.

      • mcohen says:

        I was reading your “about” and found a spelling mistake.

        Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and………. Ua.S. Army …….Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving.

  5. Mike A. says:

    Less than two kg (4.4 lbs) total I read somewhere. Every gram was debated and fought over. The commo designers were said to have begged for an additional three grams for their package but were turned down flat by project management.

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