First Flight on Another Planet!

  • Published on: Saturday, August 10, 2019
  • The Mars Helicopter aims to make the first powered flight on another planet when it takes off on Mars as part of the Mars 2020 mission. I learned a lot getting to visit the drone right before it was mounted on the rover.

    How do you fly in 1% of Earth's atmosphere:
    Have large rotors (they are 1.2m in diameter) and spin them very fast, around 2500 RPM (5x the speed of a helicopter on Earth).

    Plus the aircraft has to be light:
    The Mars helicopter weighs in at 1.8kg or around the same as a laptop. Every piece had to be stripped down for weight. Instead of using aerogel for insulation, the craft makes use of CO2 gaps between components. Even aerogel was too heavy!

    One of the major challenges is surviving the Martian night:
    Temperatures plunge to -80C to -100C so two thirds of the craft's power is actually used to keep its electronics warm. Only one third is used for flying. The estimated flight time is 90 seconds.

    The craft can't be driven remotely, it will have to fly autonomously, using its own sensor suite to determine how to fly. The round trip 20 minute delay with Earth means steering the craft from mission control would be impossible.

    Huge Thanks to Patreon Supporters:
    Philipp Volgger, Chris Vargas, Ron Neal, Alfred Wallace, Colin Bellmore, Michael Krugman, James Knight, Donal Botkin, Sam Lutfi, Mohammed Al Sahaf, Kevin Beavers, Chuck Lauer Vose, Bryan Baker, James Wong, kkm, Manuel Zürcher, Tige Thorman, Jasper Xin, Leah Howard, Daniel Milum, Mathias Göransson, Stan Presolski, Lyvann Ferrusca, Arjun Chakroborty, June Kang, Listen Money Matters, Pindex, Joar Wandborg, DALE HORNE, Parker Linn, Roberto Rezende

    Jonny Hyman was a legend in editing, animation, filming, and sound design for this video.



  • Jörgen Becker

    Jörgen Becker

     3 days ago

    they need to send a few of those things up there, not just one.

  • King Earl

    King Earl

     1 weeks ago

    In twentytwenty, martians will witness the loudest sound they've ever heard.

  • Super MarioKermit

    Super MarioKermit

     1 weeks ago

    Such a waste we could be searching the ocean but we are are over here trying to find another home to trash.

  • Alejandro Morata

    Alejandro Morata

     1 weeks ago

    How to fly theres no gravity on mars,and no oxygen,

  • Jackie Zuhong Gan Zheng

    Jackie Zuhong Gan Zheng

     2 weeks ago

    what if it tips over??? (on MARS)

  • the fabioki

    the fabioki

     2 weeks ago

    this mean that a 50 cal would fly waaaayyy faster in mars

  • Hunter Wright

    Hunter Wright

     2 weeks ago

    they should have sent a race quad with big brushless motors

  • Dhanush S

    Dhanush S

     2 weeks ago


  • avronaut


     2 weeks ago

    That doesn't impresses me much. My model helicopters easily reach 2500 rpm headspeed and can lift 8kg. It can stay in the air for 10 minutes. There are many Model Pilots who are able to construct a Mars helicopter with some seconds flighttime. I think JPL "invents" model helicopters that have been on the market for decades.

  • Channel VR

    Channel VR

     2 weeks ago

    Flying RC heli's myself this is awesome....but this type of heli does exist in RC scale . I know he said its because of the size and weight but would a normal RC heli fly on mars ? maybe just with bigger blades.

  • Ben Knefelkamp

    Ben Knefelkamp

     2 weeks ago

    How does it upright itself after falling over? How strong are the blades when they impact Martian regolith?

    Great vid, can't wait for mission success.

  • Mit Seraffej

    Mit Seraffej

     2 weeks ago

    2:26 Don’t touch

  • Reave Paleg

    Reave Paleg

     2 weeks ago +1

    I was so confused as to how the helicopter worked in space when I saw the thumbnail.

  • silent carlo

    silent carlo

     2 weeks ago

    What about they also install a battery to save the rover of mars and they both can send data to earth

  • BassLover


     2 weeks ago

    if they would buy this drone in china, it would be lighter

  • Cristobal Pareja huertas

    Cristobal Pareja huertas

     2 weeks ago

    Yo propongo algo mejor ,un artilugio con un globo inchable ,con un depósito e gas a presión que incha y estabiliza a cierta altura ,la propulsión sería eléctrica con paneles solares ,

  • Nima Nabavi

    Nima Nabavi

     2 weeks ago

    OMG. great. good

  • Borce Ivanovski

    Borce Ivanovski

     3 weeks ago

    We are starting noise pollution on another planets #

  • Jafe


     3 weeks ago

    So my question is, what happens if it tips over? Does the rover just go over and pick it up?

  • Foxfried


     3 weeks ago

    all of this... copied from rc hobby industry...