The scientists working on NASA’s Mars helicopter project are done building the actual 4-pound vehicle that’s blasting off to the red planet with the Mars 2020 rover. But they can’t just strap the helicopter to its bigger companion’s belly and call it a day — they first have to prove that it can actually fly in Martian conditions. That’s why in late January, the team replicated our neighboring planet’s much thinner atmosphere in JPL’s Space Simulator in order to make sure the helicopter will be able to take off. Spoiler alert: they were able to successfully conduct two test flights in Martian conditions on separate days.
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