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Can We Fly a Helicopter on Mars?

(Credit: NASA)


There has been a lot of buzz lately about the possibility of human exploration on Mars, with several private companies and even NASA working towards sending humans to the red planet in the near future.

One question that has come up in discussions about a potential manned mission to Mars is whether it would be possible to fly a helicopter on the planet.

The short answer is: no, at least not yet.


Why is it Hard?

Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth, which means that it is much harder to generate lift in order to fly.

In fact, Mars’ atmosphere is only about 1% as dense as Earth’s, which presents a major challenge for flying anything, let alone a helicopter.


Future Opportunities

However, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to fly on Mars someday.

NASA is currently working on a project called the Mars Helicopter, which is a small, autonomous helicopter that is designed to fly in the thin Martian atmosphere.

The Mars Helicopter is set to be included in the Mars 2020 mission, which is scheduled to launch in July of this year.

If the Mars Helicopter is successful, it could pave the way for future manned missions to the planet, as it would provide a new way for astronauts to explore and conduct research on the surface of Mars.

The Mars Helicopter could also be used to scout out potential landing sites for future missions, as well as to explore areas that are difficult for rovers to access.



Ultimately, the ability to fly on Mars will depend on our ability to develop technology that can overcome the challenges presented by the planet’s thin atmosphere.

While it may be some time before we see humans flying around on Mars in helicopters, the Mars Helicopter project is an exciting step towards making this a reality.

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