China develops miniature helicopter for Mars missions

China developed a prototype miniature helicopter for the purpose of surveillance work on future Mars missions.

Key Points

  • According to Chinese space science agency, this miniature helicopter was developed after the historic landing of robotic rover on the Mars.
  • The prototype helicopter is similar to the robotic helicopter Ingenuity in appearance, which was developed by NASA for its Perseverance mission.
  • Chinese prototype helicopter also comprise of two rotor blades, a sensor & camera base and four thin legs. However, it does not comprise of solar panel at the top like in Ingenuity.
  • China has planned its first crewed mission to the Mars in 2033.

China’s Rover

China landed its Mars rover in May 2021. It was the China’s first-ever mission to the planet. It became the second country after the United States to land such mission on Mars.

Perseverance Mission

It is UAS’s advanced rover that landed on the Mars in February 2021. In April, Ingenuity made its inaugural flight from NASA rover. It rose about 3 metres (10 feet) above the surface. This was the first successful deployment of a powered aircraft on a planet other than Earth. In making the flight, challenge for 1.8kg Ingenuity was the thin atmosphere of Mars. Atmosphere of MARS is just 1 percent of the density of Earth’s atmosphere. To compensate for the lack of aerodynamic lift, Ingenuity was equipped with rotor blades that are larger (1.2 metres tip to tip) and spin more rapidly than for an aircraft of its size on Earth.




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