First Flight on Another Planet!



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    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.

    Published on 4 months ago


    1. Alex Red

      Not just flying on another planet. But flying on another planet with rarefied atmosphere and low gravity. In other instances it will need different calibration.



    3. demonsluger

      surely there is some plants that can work in such harsh environments and photosynthesize or we could make one. Then just send it to mars and let it create an atmosphere so its less volatile.

    4. Nelson Johnson

      But the speed of sound depends of the density of the same one.

    5. Jaxon Osborn

      At 2:57 you see the scp logo on the door

    6. Ryan Bro

      this is insane

    7. Jake Garrison

      So what I'm hearing is that the search party for curiosity is coming along nicely

    8. Emmanuel M

      I hate NASA. Why not send hundreds of drones. They lack creativity.

      1. crash

        They lack funding.

    9. Man in the Park

      Hey look, they are trying to recreate the technology to fly to the moon and fly around the moon again. If we were only as technologically advanced today as we were 50 years ago.

      1. crash

        If only we had some evidence of it being real then people could stop using that claim as evidence that the moon landings were faked.

    10. Kounkie Inc

      The speed of sound is lower then on earth right did they took that into consideration they probably have (but what is the speed of sound on Mars is it just 1% of the speed one earth or are there other variables)

    11. bummers

      @8:30 Chinese weight?

    12. John Doo

      My boss reaction, when I say, I need a bigger salary... 2:59

    13. Dean O

      Would a hot air or hydrogen balloon-style design work on Mars?

      1. crash

        Not easily. The atmosphere on there is very thin so there aren't many options. Plus, you have to get it there. A balloon can easily break. And considering the winds that happen, it might not be the best option.

    14. sbmphr

      90 seconds flight time is a joke straight up then down like a periscope.

    15. Stephen Epstein

      How do you not ever name these brilliant engineers you have here telling your story? Seems kinda disrespectful.

      1. sbmphr

        Classified, he would have to shoot you.

    16. aquatic bannana

      So what if the propeller breaks? Super sonic knives baby!

      1. sbmphr

        Then it will become a million dollar piece of Martian scrap metal.

    17. nwstraith

      What about the copter kicking up dust? Is that an issue?

    18. nwstraith

      What about the rocket deployment vehicle for the last rover? That doesn't count?

    19. rubiks15

      Alright, I'll ask what everyone is thinking... what happens when it tips over?

    20. Dan

      So if everything goes as planned, then this will not only be the first powered aircraft on another planet, but it will also be the worst one we ever make.

    21. NITHIN S

      So, who is watching after it flew on the mars.

    22. Jay Brown

      I go for the Millions.... millions of views

    23. Prateek Maru

      Mars weather is suitable for fly helicopter!

    24. :Robert-Francis : Sullivan.

      Mars already has colonies... See Gaia Television interviews NASA/ JPL is a fake-program

    25. Ethan Krauss

      Super interesting video, thanks Veritasium!! If you would like to see the first flight on earth, of an ion thruster with onboard power, please click on the channel icon to the left.

    26. Ron Wilson

      Maybe some day they could mount a reasonably high power laser on the ground module that could be directed toward the UAV to help keep it warm and thus give it more time aloft. Also they could build a deployable docking station away from the ground rover that could help recharge its batteries once it lands so it could make more than one flight per day.

    27. neye4ani

      *simplist? ...most simple 3:45

      1. Lünkel

        "simplest" is a correct superlative of "simple"

    28. Iskandar Abbas

      Let's GET to The FUTURE

    29. Stephen Nield

      Incredible times we live in. I am so looking forward to this mission. Thank you, Derek, for this video!

    30. 00pingvin00

      Have they provided a dust cleaning system for solar panels? On Mars a lot of dust and sand that will settle on them.

    31. OMG OMG

      Why not methane? it can insulate more heat.

    32. AES

      and i thought my 10min flight time drone was lame

    33. kletops46

      Is it self righting ?

    34. Conrad Colman

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

    35. SABIR KHAN


    36. Andrey


    37. AndroidDoctorr

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

    38. fahad alenezi

      So Indians and asians actually do the work on nasa

    39. lovebird mic

      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...

    40. filopat67

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

    41. Khaithang Haokip

      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.

    42. Muhammad Asyfa

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

    43. RajvarTech-S

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

      1. Релёкс84

        There is an atmosphere but it's very thin.

    44. Gigson Aquino

      this is not true

    45. Philippe Rockholt

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

    46. Beakerzor

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

    47. Ezekiel Nual

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

    48. progetto aladino

      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

    49. Philippe Rockholt

      Cartoon science better known as fairy tales for adults.

      1. Релёкс84

        Fairy tales are written in books

      2. Tornado In A Junkyard

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

    50. Matt Montgomery

      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.

    51. Pro Vk

      I like veritasium Like a little Lego

    52. Luke Dominic O'Donnell

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

    53. goldplayz roblox

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

    54. Miguel Gabiola

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

    55. skizinator

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

    56. Bram den Braber

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

      1. Релёкс84

        It depends on the medium: it is much faster is water for instance, and even faster in rigid materials like metal. When it comes to gas, the speed of sound varies a bit depending on the composition and temperature.

    57. Xavier

      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.

    58. Eratube

      This makes me think of eve from walle

    59. crt33

      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.

    60. Gary Seal

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

    61. Nuno Camara

      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 ?

      1. Jesus Alfredo Fernandez Cruz

        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.

    62. Alex Dunda

      Apparently, FPV racers are a lot like NASA scientists. "I switched to titanium screws to save 0.6 grams!"

    63. Simon Leferink

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

    64. Hammad Javaid

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

    65. Christian Glasenapp

      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.

    66. andrew calvillo

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

    67. Dom

      What a waste of money

    68. Joshua Traffanstedt

      Cant hear

    69. Kyle Hickey

      Disappointed they didn’t fly it in the video.