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.



  • Nelson Johnson

    Nelson Johnson

     3 days ago

    But the speed of sound depends of the density of the same one.

  • Jaxon Osborn

    Jaxon Osborn

     5 days ago +1

    At 2:57 you see the scp logo on the door

  • Ryan Bro

    Ryan Bro

     6 days ago +1

    this is insane

  • Jake Garrison

    Jake Garrison

     6 days ago +2

    So what I'm hearing is that the search party for curiosity is coming along nicely

  • Emmanuel M

    Emmanuel M

     1 weeks ago

    I hate NASA. Why not send hundreds of drones. They lack creativity.

  • Man in the Park

    Man in the Park

     1 weeks ago

    Hey look, they are trying to recreate the technology to fly to the moon and fly around the moon again. If we were only as technologically advanced today as we were 50 years ago.

  • yolo met liam

    yolo met liam

     1 weeks ago +1

    The speed of sound is lower then on earth right did they took that into consideration they probably have (but what is the speed of sound on Mars is it just 1% of the speed one earth or are there other variables)

  • bummers


     2 weeks ago

    @8:30 Chinese weight?

  • John Doo

    John Doo

     2 weeks ago +5

    My boss reaction, when I say, I need a bigger salary... 2:59

  • Dean O

    Dean O

     2 weeks ago

    Would a hot air or hydrogen balloon-style design work on Mars?

  • sbmphr


     2 weeks ago +2

    90 seconds flight time is a joke straight up then down like a periscope.

  • Stephen Epstein

    Stephen Epstein

     3 weeks ago

    How do you not ever name these brilliant engineers you have here telling your story? Seems kinda disrespectful.

  • aquatic bannana

    aquatic bannana

     4 weeks ago

    So what if the propeller breaks?
    Super sonic knives baby!

  • nwstraith


     1 months ago

    What about the copter kicking up dust? Is that an issue?

  • nwstraith


     1 months ago

    What about the rocket deployment vehicle for the last rover? That doesn't count?

  • rubiks15


     1 months ago

    Alright, I'll ask what everyone is thinking...

    what happens when it tips over?

  • Airguardian


     1 months ago


  • Dan


     1 months ago

    So if everything goes as planned, then this will not only be the first powered aircraft on another planet, but it will also be the worst one we ever make.



     1 months ago +1

    So, who is watching after it flew on the mars.

  • Jay Brown

    Jay Brown

     1 months ago

    I go for the Millions.... millions of views