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 • 4 736

  • Conrad Colman
    Conrad Colman  13 hours back

    Great video, but shooting in front of a mirror is distracting

      SABIR KHAN  17 hours back


      • Andrey
        Andrey  24 hours back


        • AndroidDoctorr
          AndroidDoctorr  1 days back

          12:17 - 13:10- filmed in ultra shaky cam

          • fahad alenezi
            fahad alenezi  4 days back

            So Indians and asians actually do the work on nasa

            • lovebird mic
              lovebird mic  4 days back

              II have an idea! Bring a camera so we can watch it as it takes off. Just place the camera in the sand, move the rover away so it's a bit away, but still visible, then take off. Not only will it probably be super cool, *if* something were to go wrong, but it might also give more data as to what. Then later, the rover picks the camera back up... Some... How...

              • filopat67
                filopat67  5 days back

                That blue board on the side of the helicopter, is that an Arduino? :D

                • Khaithang Haokip
                  Khaithang Haokip  6 days back

                  Bolaram is the kind of name you associate with a poor Indian peasant who is at the mercy of a cruel landlord, add a 'Bob' at the beginning and you have this NASA aerodynamic scientist making the first copter that would fly in Mars.

                  • Muhammad Asyfa
                    Muhammad Asyfa  7 days back

                    These intelligent guys seems to be stunned when they realise the complexity of nature, while I don't even know what is going on.

                    • Raj Var Tech-Spiritual

                      Is there air in Mars? If no, how an Helicopter fly?

                      • Gigson Aquino
                        Gigson Aquino  1 weeks back

                        this is not true

                        • Philippe Rockholt
                          Philippe Rockholt  1 weeks back

                          Explain why Satellites and ISS don’t melt in the thermosphere?

                          • Beakerzor
                            Beakerzor  1 weeks back

                            2:50 Apple's macbook just got weight-shamed! it's so damn heavy!

                            • Ezekiel Nual
                              Ezekiel Nual  1 weeks back

                              If theres all most no atmosphere on mars so we need pollution on mars man

                              • progetto aladino
                                progetto aladino  1 weeks back

                                the intensity of the air is less than that of the earth, the blades should be more inclined to suck up more upward force otherwise it would be like running with a neutral engine or increasing the engine revs but it would cause too much overheating or give a suitable inclination to create the right vortex of air for detachment from the ground.then I add a quadcopter much better would be more stable

                                • Philippe Rockholt
                                  Philippe Rockholt  1 weeks back

                                  Cartoon science better known as fairy tales for adults.

                                  • Tornado In A Junkyard
                                    Tornado In A Junkyard  1 weeks back

                                    Oh, really? Please, tell me more about how you disproved all of known physics using nothing more than arguments from incredulity.

                                • Matt Montgomery
                                  Matt Montgomery  1 weeks back

                                  At first, I didn't think of recharging the batteries, and I was thinking: "90 seconds, and that's it? Entire mars mission done!" Then, of course,r they are rechargeable.

                                  Now wondering if the small panel on top is enough to be self-reliant, or if the rover would be able to charge it too. And if it is self-reliant for power, I suppose it stays close to the rover to be able to communicate back to Earth?

                                  Great Vid.

                                  • Pro Vk
                                    Pro Vk  1 weeks back

                                    I like veritasium

                                    Like a little Lego

                                    • Luke Dominic O'Donnell
                                      Luke Dominic O'Donnell  1 weeks back

                                      isn't the speed of sound variable in different atmospheres?

                                      • goldplayz roblox
                                        goldplayz roblox  1 weeks back

                                        Did u just bought a real drone just for this video?

                                        • Miguel Gabiola
                                          Miguel Gabiola  1 weeks back

                                          Use boston dynamics a.i. tech...🤔

                                          • skizinator
                                            skizinator  2 weeks back

                                            3 Smartphone batteries are closer to 9.000 mAh not 40.000 mAh. 40 Ah comes to 10 to 15 smartphone batteries.

                                            • Bram den Braber
                                              Bram den Braber  2 weeks back

                                              this made me wonder. Is the speed of sound constant?

                                              • TeX Gaming
                                                TeX Gaming  2 weeks back

                                                Why not have all the computer components on the rover and just use a wireless transmitter to do the work? It would decrease weight a lot or you could just put more batteries instead of circuit boards.

                                                • Eratube
                                                  Eratube  2 weeks back

                                                  This makes me think of eve from walle

                                                  • crt33
                                                    crt33  2 weeks back

                                                    As an x-rc heli pilot I was a little underwhelmed by the rpm number. 1500mm dia blade helis often push 2000-2100 rpm so I was expecting more.

                                                    • Gary Seal
                                                      Gary Seal  2 weeks back

                                                      Truly awesome engineering. Can't wait to see the results.

                                                      • Nuno Camara
                                                        Nuno Camara  2 weeks back

                                                        I got a question. Can a big spaceship in space fire a "rocket hook" into Earth and then with an electric crane pull cargo into space replacing the traditional method of rockets and fuel to get anything into space ?

                                                        • Jesus Alfredo Fernandez Cruz
                                                          Jesus Alfredo Fernandez Cruz  2 weeks back

                                                          The Space elevator's idea need a strong material for the cables to lift the loads from earth surface. We need a very long cable (about 300km minimun) that no be broken by His own weigth. The second problem is build a light powerful electric motor to lifting the elevator. When we solved this problems maybe we can build it.

                                                          Sorry for my bad english.
                                                          Have a nice day.

                                                      • dazzler279
                                                        dazzler279  2 weeks back

                                                        Blades must move faster in less air. Speed of sound (sonic boom) also changes? My brain hurts

                                                        • Alex Dunda
                                                          Alex Dunda  2 weeks back

                                                          Apparently, FPV racers are a lot like NASA scientists.

                                                          "I switched to titanium screws to save 0.6 grams!"

                                                          • Simon Leferink
                                                            Simon Leferink  2 weeks back

                                                            Haha did they forget that you need an atmosphere to flight and mars almost doesn't have an atmosphere

                                                            • Hammad Javaid
                                                              Hammad Javaid  2 weeks back

                                                              What if after 90 sec of flight, the Mars helicopter lands on a rock and flips itself?

                                                              • Christian Glasenapp
                                                                Christian Glasenapp  2 weeks back

                                                                Please explain how this thing doesn't just get lost immediately after takeoff. It's not like there is gps to find the rover again.

                                                                • andrew calvillo
                                                                  andrew calvillo  2 weeks back

                                                                  You should have ask how much did it cost to make it

                                                                  • Dom
                                                                    Dom  2 weeks back

                                                                    What a waste of money

                                                                    • Joshua Traffanstedt
                                                                      Joshua Traffanstedt  2 weeks back

                                                                      Cant hear

                                                                      • Kyle Hickey
                                                                        Kyle Hickey  2 weeks back

                                                                        Disappointed they didn’t fly it in the video.

                                                                        • Total_Kayhem
                                                                          Total_Kayhem  3 weeks back

                                                                          This thing: starts flying
                                                                          Alien farmers: why is fortunate son playing?

                                                                          • Carlos Roberto
                                                                            Carlos Roberto  3 weeks back

                                                                            It could only fly on Mars if there was oxygen. I dont think it would work on vaccum.

                                                                            • Michael Spencer
                                                                              Michael Spencer  3 weeks back

                                                                              How there is no air on mars.
                                                                              You need a type of gas that is heavier than the drone.
                                                                              So you need some fast spinning blades.

                                                                              • Montrey Gaming
                                                                                Montrey Gaming  3 weeks back

                                                                                If that think upside down the people fly to turn up and come back😂

                                                                                • Singing Tallit
                                                                                  Singing Tallit  3 weeks back

                                                                                  Hope they only used ceramic bearings

                                                                                  • RoadSurfer Official
                                                                                    RoadSurfer Official  3 weeks back

                                                                                    Could have done that weight offloading with a freaking balloon. Leave it to NASA to come up with the most overly complicated stuff rofl

                                                                                    • Mukull Sirohi
                                                                                      Mukull Sirohi  3 weeks back

                                                                                      If I was in his place...I would have smashed this helicopter & would have run away!😂😂😂

                                                                                      • Đăng Huy Nguyễn Bằng

                                                                                        I love watching your video. I don’t really understand anything but knowing the problem and science information feels great

                                                                                        • M Roy
                                                                                          M Roy  3 weeks back

                                                                                          Wow that will never survive falling in the atmosphere

                                                                                          • Dev Rifter
                                                                                            Dev Rifter  3 weeks back

                                                                                            why dont ue these rotators as wind turbine at night;)?

                                                                                            • Caelorcat Esme
                                                                                              Caelorcat Esme  3 weeks back

                                                                                              What if the helicopter breaks on Mars what will NASA do 🥺