First Flight on Another Planet! VFX Artists React to Bad & Great CGi 8 1 day ago   16:01

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Veritasium
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.

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Jonny Hyman was a legend in editing, animation, filming, and sound design for this video.
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Comments 4246 Comments

Dark GT
There are some things I don't like in the model. First, why spending so much power on heating? They could use the radioactive decay of some elements for heating, also the battery can be charged with some atomic battery. They didn't resolve one recurring problem that is shared with the rovers too, the cleaning of the sun panels. When it get dusty, is no longer efficient as before. I bet there is a way to clean the panels. Anyway , that's is one step in the right direction for future exploration.
hasnain mustak
Elon Musk: I need to organize a drone race there.
Andrè
Yeah right. We dont have proof nor actual video of leaving earth behind. Full video. Missing :)) its to be or not now!! People think that small clip or shuttle going to the sky high up is space. Its not. THEY CANT get higher :))
Yiyi Yan
This is such an inspiring video to future aircraft designer, that my blood starts to boil thinking about solving these challenges and seeing this vehicle flying on Mars! Thank you very much Veritasium, please keep motivating and enlightening future generations to explore the unknowns!
The canary Is dead
Craters that would be inaccessible to the rover, or that deep hole near the south pole, would be great places to fly. One of those deep trenches May yet have traces of water, frozen just beneath the surface. Where there is water, there is life.
Сварожічъ Х'Арійскі
NASA has the budget of 27 mil a day! And this is what they came up with? Lol
thenerdnetwork
Hmm... sure seems like the $10 BILLION they spent on this project is worth it... meanwhile you can buy a drone at wal mart for under $100. I will tell ya what, if NASA cuts me a check for $5 billion I will tell them right now what they will find on that planet, spoiler... its red, rocky, dusty... and no life on it whatsoever... make the check payable to cash...ty.
Deepyn dixies
This mission is going to be a mess
Oracle Davis
Attached two small Zeppelin shape balloon to provide lift for the device.
Go figure it out.
Cryptic Thunder
Wasting my tax money on this stupid thing when it could be going to real projects like going back to the moon.
binaryalgorithm
I'm thinking short flights/hops, recharge solar, repeat.
DeinLieblingsTimmey
U can visit mars with google earth (erath, moon, mars) - I found a place which was hand blurred with typical tools like photoshop or fireworks. It looks so strange, because it as not a quadrat, you have seen the brush tool circle here and there. I got interested in this space and zommed the max in. Near the hand blured line you can clearly see buildings. 90° angles, like "our" human buildings, near by near, some in the same size some a bit more complex.Since I found this place - I "know" we are already on mars and we have also build already buildings which are important enought to blur them by hand. I think its Tesla - or military - or both. But I guess its tesla. This is why I say to myself in that moment I have some dollars to spend for, I will buy as many tesla stocks as I can because I already know they only "try" to reach mars for public in 2020 and it will, oh wonder, be a success, and in 5 years it will go official and the stocks will raise hard.
Juan Carlos Santilli
Are you sure coaxial rotors are more efficient??
Coven of the Arks
---a story by a child who lost his desire to become a scientist - I WAS ONLY 10 IN THE 80'S, MY PARENTS BOUGHT ME A ROBOT, THAT JUST HAD A NUMBER PAD. THE ROBOT WOULD GO WHATEVER FEET I SPECIFIED, TURN A SPECIFIED DEGREE AND SEARCH AREAS BASED ON MY INSTRUCTIONS. IT WAS SO COOL TO WATCH. BUT AS A TEN YEAR OLD, THEY HAD NO CAMERAS OR AVOIDANCE SENSORS and, of course, no GPS.. I WAS IMPRESSED WITH IT. BUT ONE DAY WE WENT ON VACATION FOR ONE OR 2 WEEKS. WHILE WE WERE GONE , SOMEHOW, THE PILOT LIGHT IN OUR OIL HEATER FLAMED OUT. THE HOUSE , THE OIL, AND THE WATER IN THE PIPES FROZE. THE WATER EXPANDED, CRACKING THE PIPES, THUS, FLOODING THE HOUSE. THE UNFROZEN WATER FLOWED EVERYWHERE, TURNING THE HOUSE INTO A DISNEY MOVIE, "ICE QUEEN" OR "FROZEN" . MY LITTLE ROBOT WAS IN THE BASEMENT ON THE POOL TABLE, THE WATER PIPES EXPLODED ONTO IT AND FROZE EVERTHING IN ICE. EVERYTHING CRACKED , RIPPED APART, OR SHATTERED. IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST DAYS OF MY FAMILIE'S LIFE. I TRIED TO FIND ANOTHER ROBOT LIKE THAT ONE, BUT THEY DISCONTINUED MAKING THEM. SADDEST DAY OF MY LIFE. IT WAS LIKE HAVING MY OWN NASA ROBOT, ONLY I KNEW THE CODES TO ENTER INSTRUCTIONS. I CRIED FOR MONTHS (REMEMBER I WAS ONLY 9 OR 10).
shivam suri
Hey there ! My dear friend. Awesome coverage on this mars helicopter. One thing I would like to know though, is 1.) what material has been used in the manufacture of propeller blades? 2.) Considered it would be flying at Mach 0.7, how would the aerodynamic parameters be concerned, with reference to the square shaped fuselage?
Coven of the Arks
GRAVITY OFFLOAD !? Because the atmosphere is much thinner on mars, this helicopter, tethered to a helium blimp or a gas blimp lighter than the air on mars would succeed in creating a longer flight time. ?. On earth many helicopter drone enthusiasts do not tether their heli drones to helium blimps, because they say it will cause too much drag. BUT ON MARS, WITH THE ATMOSPHERE THINNER, The drag wouldn't be as much of an issue and the Mars Heli drone could stay airborne much longer. I may be wrong. If NASA could explain why they can't float the heli drone for a minute or two, then release it; , it would be greatly appreciated. Heli , hell, shell, spinning, planet, hurricane, watch the poles of the helli. Trademark-- Need to heal, seel, shelly, helli, spinny, whiny. Space hurricane anyone?
Coven of the Arks
VE (veritas) .In Roman mythology, Veritas, meaning truth, is the goddess of truth, a daughter of Chronos, the Titan of Time. THEY CALL THEMSELVES VERITASIUM LIKE A CHEMICAL. FUNNY.
Quantum Brotherhood
Awesome
Oathblivion
It's super cool that they didn't use aerogel if it wasn't necessary because of weight. Those guys meant every word when they said every part was considered for weight. I can't wait to see what this thing can accomplish when it gets to Mars.

edit: And it's just a tech demo? Maybe, but I think that's underestimating the potential of what 90s of flight with a color camera can uncover. :O
Jake10454
The most important question: How long until we can fly it over Opportunity to blow the dust off her solar panels and revive her?
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VFX Artists React to Bad & Great CGi 8 First Flight on Another Planet! 1 day ago   16:10

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