NASA plans to fly small electric helicopter on Mars during its 2020 mission

According to a recent announcement by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the space agency’s 2020 mission will involve an effort to fly a small electric helicopter on Mars.

The announcement by Bridenstine comes close on the heels of a last-week disclosure by NASA that it is planning the addition of another electric vehicle -- a small electric helicopter -- during its next mission to Mars.

With NASA already having put a few electric vehicles on Mars, also called Mars rovers, the space agency now has efforts underway to ensure that a small electric helicopter is added to the mission which is scheduled to launch in barely 2 years.

Going by the details shared by NASA, the electric helicopter will be affixed to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover. The helicopter will be powered by lithium-ion batteries which will get charged with the help of built-in solar cells. The helicopter will also have a heating system which will keep it warm during the cold nights on Mars.

In announcing NASA’s plans with regard to flying an electric helicopter on Mars, Bridenstine said that “the idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling,” and also added that the Mars Helicopter “holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”