First Flight on Another Planet!

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  • 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 • 4 391

  • ruemax 11
    ruemax 11  9 hours back

    How is the mars rover taking a picture of itself?

    • mahmoud kholeisy
      mahmoud kholeisy  12 hours back

      how will they deal with it if the rover fell on its side? how will they put it upright again?

      • pristinemirage
        pristinemirage  13 hours back

        Got a bolt causing you problems? Just blow it up!

        • JoyTheGeek
          JoyTheGeek  15 hours back

          Can we talk about the fact we're sending a rover *AND* a FLYING CRAFT
          ON MARS.

          • addi de souza
            addi de souza  16 hours back

            what is it tips over ?

            • JoyTheGeek
              JoyTheGeek  16 hours back

              They better fly it to find opportunity.

              • Toasted Synapse Gaming
                Toasted Synapse Gaming  17 hours back

                higher rez pics than an orbiting satellite? I was just thinking about this. If you get a heavy-ish satellite with a big sensor and long lens won't that do the trick? Have several of them and you'll have everything mapped out for rovers and explorers. And there's less risk and infinite flight time

                • Santiago M. Ferreiro
                  Santiago M. Ferreiro  21 hours back

                  Hi Derek! Can you film a video on stage holograms?

                  • Brit Gilpin
                    Brit Gilpin  1 days back

                    The collective collectively changes the pitch of the blades and the cyclic cyclically changes the pitch of the blades

                    • B Henry
                      B Henry  1 days back

                      I'm only watching this because this video has been front page on my recommended for the last 5 years. Finally. Now go away, I watched

                      • Spider Mcgavenport
                        Spider Mcgavenport  1 days back

                        Seeding Mars with portable power station(s) induction based drones with a perovskite coating could solve onboard weight restrictions for battery packs.

                        • Shawn P
                          Shawn P  1 days back

                          CLICKBAIT!

                          • Чё Бля
                            Чё Бля  1 days back

                            yeah, the air on Mars is thinner than on Earth, but the gravity is also 1/3 of Earth's gravity, so it kinda balances out.

                            • ugetridofit
                              ugetridofit  1 days back

                              "The purpose of the helicopter is to prove we can fly on another planet". LOL, gotta love scientists with no limit to our tax dollars, and a total lack of any common sense. Instead of pouring money on utterly useless information as that. Why dont you instead pour your money on this planet and make it sustainable. I have flown RC helicopters most of my life. I can tell you right now there is no way in hell they will ever get it to fly on it's own. It will never happen, they can blow smoke up your but to make the great sales pitch all they like so they can keep their jobs and play with toys, but you heard it here first. NO WAY can that be pulled off without GPS help.

                              • Super Dave
                                Super Dave  1 days back

                                Inflate a god damn balloon and fly it for as long as you like. Why throw money down the rabbit hole?

                                • Tyler
                                  Tyler  1 days back

                                  What if the rover could drive back over it and wirelessly charge it using its larger solar panals?

                                • Matt Jones
                                  Matt Jones  2 days back

                                  @14:07 what is that a picture of?
                                  Earth I'm assuming because of the light levels and the blue sky.

                                  • Sneaky1ne
                                    Sneaky1ne  2 days back

                                    Lmao she said it in pounds and it looked like she thought.. oh yea he s american gotta use rarted units

                                    • Leonaяdo DiCapяio
                                      Leonaяdo DiCapяio  2 days back

                                      Meanwhile in Russia: new pray’n’pay technology

                                      • Richard Ford
                                        Richard Ford  2 days back

                                        Alliens probably would laugh to this technology );

                                        • Faded_DJB
                                          Faded_DJB  2 days back

                                          Lol, one light gust of wind and it's fin

                                          • EVOLICIOUS
                                            EVOLICIOUS  1 days back

                                            good thing mars has 1% of earth's atmosphere, so there pretty much is no wind anyways.

                                        • Jeremy Cline
                                          Jeremy Cline  2 days back

                                          So like Devon Island, Canada Mars
                                          or for real Mars this time? ;)

                                          • Thiago Lanni
                                            Thiago Lanni  2 days back

                                            2:44 ...1.8kg?!? wow... that thing is impressively light.

                                            • akarp111
                                              akarp111  2 days back

                                              Kapton Tape: Duct Tape for the Lab!

                                              • Ian Blixenkrone-Møller

                                                I wonder why they are going with a brushed dc motor when they have such a high rpm. Wont it wear down the coal much faster ?

                                                • jeremy oconnor
                                                  jeremy oconnor  3 days back

                                                  No GPS on Mars I suppose. So does this helicopter use old tech to find its way home?

                                                  • lamixaney
                                                    lamixaney  3 days back

                                                    why that bottom pack is covered by yellow shinny coil or smthg ?

                                                    • D R
                                                      D R  3 days back

                                                      2:24 you totally thought you were going to get yelled at lol


                                                      "Look with your eyes, not your hands"

                                                      • Rider0fBuffalo
                                                        Rider0fBuffalo  3 days back

                                                        Veritasium is where the best tech reporting is at! Do these things have multiple copies of os and other software... How do they handle mission critical processing and memory with the higher probability of cosmic bit flips associated with space travel and thinner atmospheres?

                                                        • p s
                                                          p s  3 days back

                                                          Nein! Doch! Oooh XD

                                                          • Zane Gifford
                                                            Zane Gifford  4 days back

                                                            Do you think a craft like this, if in the vicinity, to clean the solar panels of opportunity like dust storms in the past have or do you think the cold has already damaged the electronics to where the rover is unusable?

                                                            • Joe Rohle
                                                              Joe Rohle  4 days back

                                                              Please please please please please please collaborate with Mark Rober

                                                              • zé
                                                                  4 days back

                                                                Ok, they can mimic the mars gravity on flight forces, but they can't on accelerometer sensor. Good luck control engineers of autonomous flight!

                                                                • Christopher Bouchard
                                                                  Christopher Bouchard  4 days back

                                                                  Its so sexy when the Asain lady talks nerdy..

                                                                  • Matt Brine
                                                                    Matt Brine  4 days back

                                                                    I realy do hope it all works out and get some data from our little flying buddy. ALSO Not only would having the craft take a "Selfie" of the rover its deployed from perhaps give the public something to look at and feel good about, but I imagine it'll provide a number of tests so long as the picture actually is recieved (I imagine tests such as : Does it (the helicopter) work? Does the camera(s) work? Is the rover ok? Can we fly stably enough to take pictures? What is the area around the rover like?)

                                                                    • Woei Leong Chan
                                                                      Woei Leong Chan  4 days back

                                                                      What are those horns at the hub of the blades?

                                                                      • Glen Petherick
                                                                        Glen Petherick  4 days back

                                                                        Looking in the comments for GPS and Return To Home drone jokes.............

                                                                        • Discordian
                                                                          Discordian  4 days back

                                                                          Element 42.0. The answer to the question, and a factor of 10 off of 420. I was already subscribed, but now I'm bell iconed.


                                                                          JK, I love your detailed information, I need more.

                                                                          • Heroic Observer
                                                                            Heroic Observer  4 days back

                                                                            (before watching video) How is a helicopter supposed to fly in mars, where there is no atmosphere?

                                                                            • EddieStyle
                                                                              EddieStyle  4 days back

                                                                              Ahh such a good video again!

                                                                              • Chris Hanline
                                                                                Chris Hanline  4 days back

                                                                                2:59 - that is the laugh you hear just before The Joker pushes the button on the device in his hand.

                                                                                • uncle_creepy27
                                                                                  uncle_creepy27  5 days back

                                                                                  Hey gravity offload like they did when they were pretending to have landed on the moon

                                                                                  • uncle_creepy27
                                                                                    uncle_creepy27  5 days back

                                                                                    Let this guy go to mars😜

                                                                                    • Oscar Thorpe
                                                                                      Oscar Thorpe  5 days back

                                                                                      that craft sounds really cool.
                                                                                      and as a RC helicopter pilot, i want to have a go.

                                                                                      • AMRISH R
                                                                                        AMRISH R  5 days back

                                                                                        even a smallest of error can cost in this mission

                                                                                        • AMRISH R
                                                                                          AMRISH R  5 days back

                                                                                          i always thought why? haven't they send a drone to other planets but now a why? they haven't done it before

                                                                                          • Cetok01
                                                                                            Cetok01  5 days back

                                                                                            Interesting. I hope NASA will give the public all the raw photos it takes. They could probably use the Rover's claw to recover and upright it if the wind blows it around, and the MH could do a flyover before landing to blow dust off the Rover's solar panels (or will it be nuclear-powered?).

                                                                                            • YouTube Champions
                                                                                              YouTube Champions  5 days back

                                                                                              going to mars LOL!