First Flight on Another Planet!

  • Published: 10 August 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.

Comments • 4 795

  • Prometheus 18562
    Prometheus 18562  10 hours back

    It wouldn't be breaking the speed of sound on mars right?

    • Jörgen Becker
      Jörgen Becker  4 days back

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

      • King Earl
        King Earl  2 weeks back

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

        • Super MarioKermit
          Super MarioKermit  2 weeks back

          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  2 weeks back

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

            • Jackie Zuhong Gan Zheng

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

              • the fabioki
                the fabioki  2 weeks back

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

                • Hunter Wright
                  Hunter Wright  2 weeks back

                  they should have sent a race quad with big brushless motors

                  • Dhanush S
                    Dhanush S  3 weeks back


                    • avronaut
                      avronaut  3 weeks back

                      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  3 weeks back

                        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  3 weeks back

                          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  3 weeks back

                            2:26 Don’t touch

                            • Reave Paleg
                              Reave Paleg  3 weeks back

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

                              • silent carlo
                                silent carlo  3 weeks back

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

                                • BassLover
                                  BassLover  3 weeks back

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

                                  • Cristobal Pareja huertas

                                    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  3 weeks back

                                      OMG. great. good

                                      • Borce Ivanovski
                                        Borce Ivanovski  3 weeks back

                                        We are starting noise pollution on another planets #

                                        • Jafe
                                          Jafe  3 weeks back

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

                                          • Foxfried
                                            Foxfried  3 weeks back

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

                                            • QuestForTruth
                                              QuestForTruth  3 weeks back

                                              You mean take off and land on Devin's Island LOL everybody knows that's where "Mars" is lol

                                              • woodstoney
                                                woodstoney  3 weeks back

                                                Always great content from him!!

                                                • Mio Reiser
                                                  Mio Reiser  3 weeks back

                                                  Ein Haufen großer Kinder mit albernem Spielzeug.

                                                  • peregrinegrace
                                                    peregrinegrace  3 weeks back

                                                    And 3 million children are desperately sick
                                                    On earth
                                                    Because they have no clean water to drink.
                                                    Scientists are not human

                                                    • auto_chris420
                                                      auto_chris420  3 weeks back

                                                      So why don't you like build a box on the Rover to keep the thing warm and help recharge then when it would be able to have more flight time

                                                      • ThisNoName
                                                        ThisNoName  4 weeks back

                                                        Stop daydreaming! There's no hope on Mars!! You can't make something out of nothing!!!

                                                        • Greg Lind
                                                          Greg Lind  4 weeks back

                                                          Stunning now all nasa needs to figure out is how to get to Mars, or will this rover be flown somewhere in Greenland again

                                                          • Rob Jeanbras
                                                            Rob Jeanbras  4 weeks back

                                                            What does a 90 second flight do for us? Or is it 90... Recharge... Another 90... Etc.?

                                                            • Subhadeep Sengupta
                                                              Subhadeep Sengupta  4 weeks back

                                                              Bob Balaram - chief engineer. Another Indian conquering the technology front.

                                                              • Stefano
                                                                Stefano  4 weeks back

                                                                Why they don't add some transparent protection for the solar panel, to avoid dust to stop it? Maybe some films that can be taken out one by one...

                                                                • Carlos Silvasuprema
                                                                  Carlos Silvasuprema  4 weeks back

                                                                  Has it some kind of GPS for stabilized orientation ?

                                                                  • babbar123
                                                                    babbar123  4 weeks back

                                                                    Wow, an Asian helicopter pilot. Good luck outer space traffic.

                                                                    • Oliver Foggin
                                                                      Oliver Foggin  4 weeks back

                                                                      The Indian guy explaining how it controls and moves is the most physicist/mathematician/engineer based explanation of how helicopters work that I have ever heard.

                                                                      When you’re pitched in a direction your thrust vector has a component that is horizontal and you start to translate in that direction.


                                                                      • Subhadeep Sengupta
                                                                        Subhadeep Sengupta  4 weeks back

                                                                        You idiot, what is your qualification and credential that you question the chief engineer of NASA ? Go and play football or rugby and drink beer.

                                                                    • Mechanitron 123
                                                                      Mechanitron 123  4 weeks back

                                                                      Imagine fishing and finding this.

                                                                      • Rod Schmidt
                                                                        Rod Schmidt  4 weeks back

                                                                        Why not a balloon/dirigible plus copter?

                                                                        • Rod Schmidt
                                                                          Rod Schmidt  4 weeks back

                                                                          What if they take a fuel cell to provide the warmth? Less weight than a battery, per BTU or whatever?

                                                                          • Rod Schmidt
                                                                            Rod Schmidt  4 weeks back

                                                                            Did they try piano wire in place of fishline?

                                                                            • soci0path
                                                                              soci0path  4 weeks back

                                                                              The air on Mars is to thin for rotary wing flight, dumb.

                                                                              • Meme Guy
                                                                                Meme Guy  4 weeks back

                                                                                What’re they gonna do about that nasty superfine dust tho?

                                                                                • EPIC12EPIC
                                                                                  EPIC12EPIC  4 weeks back

                                                                                  I’m pretty sure when the rovers landed the rocket thingy flew as well

                                                                                  • EPIC12EPIC
                                                                                    EPIC12EPIC  4 weeks back

                                                                                    If this falls over

                                                                                    • Skiller5000
                                                                                      Skiller5000  4 weeks back

                                                                                      The 950 people that disliked this are flat earthers...

                                                                                      • Rod Schmidt
                                                                                        Rod Schmidt  4 weeks back

                                                                                        Mars is concave!

                                                                                        AND upside down!

                                                                                    • D Hansel
                                                                                      D Hansel  4 weeks back

                                                                                      Make sure you are in class 'G" airspace or you may hit something else fly around !

                                                                                      • branden jones
                                                                                        branden jones  4 weeks back

                                                                                        What happens if it tips over. Do the legs move to help it get nack on its feet or would it be mission over. I have to imagine there would be some kind of contingency for that situation

                                                                                        • Diogo Abreu
                                                                                          Diogo Abreu  4 weeks back

                                                                                          5:43 the sound reminds me of rocket V2

                                                                                          • Tristun Alekzander
                                                                                            Tristun Alekzander  1 months back

                                                                                            Two counter-rotating motors stacked on top of each other is _not_ simpler than a quad lol A quad is just 4 motors, no other moving parts. A single or dual propeller copter actually has very complex mechanisms that tilt the propellers to maneuver the craft.

                                                                                            • Problem ?
                                                                                              Problem ?  1 months back

                                                                                              2:59 i got scared for a bit