NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Unveils Interplanetary Drone Mars Helicopter
The Mars Helicopter a new concept vehicle for future missions could dramatically increase our knowledge of the red planet. Designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the aerial drone would fly reconnaissance mission over Mars surface and collect data. That data will be used to help the Mars rover explore the planet more efficiently by picking the best sites for research based on aerial data.
The Mars helicopter weighs 2.2 pounds and has a diameter of 3.6 feet, making it comparable in size to consumer grade drones currently on the market. However it will have some advanced equipment upgrades that allow it to communicate with the Mars rover. Additionally, the drone would have a top-mounted solar panel, allowing it to charge itself as it travels over the surface of the planet.
No firm date has been set for the Mars Helicopter launch but it continues to be rigorously tested.