First Flight on Another Planet!

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  • 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 • 4 352

  • lamixaney
    lamixaney  4 hours back

    why that bottom pack is covered by yellow shinny coil or smthg ?

    • D R
      D R  7 hours back

      2:24 you totally thought you were going to get yelled at lol


      "Look with your eyes, not your hands"

      • Rider0fBuffalo
        Rider0fBuffalo  7 hours back

        Veritasium is where the best tech reporting is at! Do these things have multiple copies of os and other software... How do they handle mission critical processing and memory with the higher probability of cosmic bit flips associated with space travel and thinner atmospheres?

        • p s
          p s  9 hours back

          Nein! Doch! Oooh XD

          • Zane Gifford
            Zane Gifford  14 hours back

            Do you think a craft like this, if in the vicinity, to clean the solar panels of opportunity like dust storms in the past have or do you think the cold has already damaged the electronics to where the rover is unusable?

            • Joe Rohle
              Joe Rohle  15 hours back

              Please please please please please please collaborate with Mark Rober

              • zé
                  18 hours back

                Ok, they can mimic the mars gravity on flight forces, but they can't on accelerometer sensor. Good luck control engineers of autonomous flight!

                • Christopher Bouchard
                  Christopher Bouchard  19 hours back

                  Its so sexy when the Asain lady talks nerdy..

                  • Matt Brine
                    Matt Brine  19 hours back

                    I realy do hope it all works out and get some data from our little flying buddy. ALSO Not only would having the craft take a "Selfie" of the rover its deployed from perhaps give the public something to look at and feel good about, but I imagine it'll provide a number of tests so long as the picture actually is recieved (I imagine tests such as : Does it (the helicopter) work? Does the camera(s) work? Is the rover ok? Can we fly stably enough to take pictures? What is the area around the rover like?)

                    • Woei Leong Chan
                      Woei Leong Chan  23 hours back

                      What are those horns at the hub of the blades?

                      • Glen Petherick
                        Glen Petherick  1 days back

                        Looking in the comments for GPS and Return To Home drone jokes.............

                        • Discordian
                          Discordian  1 days back

                          Element 42.0. The answer to the question, and a factor of 10 off of 420. I was already subscribed, but now I'm bell iconed.


                          JK, I love your detailed information, I need more.

                          • Heroic Observer
                            Heroic Observer  1 days back

                            (before watching video) How is a helicopter supposed to fly in mars, where there is no atmosphere?

                            • EddieStyle
                              EddieStyle  1 days back

                              Ahh such a good video again!

                              • Chris Hanline
                                Chris Hanline  1 days back

                                2:59 - that is the laugh you hear just before The Joker pushes the button on the device in his hand.

                                • uncle_creepy27
                                  uncle_creepy27  2 days back

                                  Hey gravity offload like they did when they were pretending to have landed on the moon

                                  • uncle_creepy27
                                    uncle_creepy27  2 days back

                                    Let this guy go to mars😜

                                    • Oscar Thorpe
                                      Oscar Thorpe  2 days back

                                      that craft sounds really cool.
                                      and as a RC helicopter pilot, i want to have a go.

                                      • AMRISH R
                                        AMRISH R  2 days back

                                        even a smallest of error can cost in this mission

                                        • AMRISH R
                                          AMRISH R  2 days back

                                          i always thought why? haven't they send a drone to other planets but now a why? they haven't done it before

                                          • Cetok01
                                            Cetok01  2 days back

                                            Interesting. I hope NASA will give the public all the raw photos it takes. They could probably use the Rover's claw to recover and upright it if the wind blows it around, and the MH could do a flyover before landing to blow dust off the Rover's solar panels (or will it be nuclear-powered?).

                                            • YouTube Champions
                                              YouTube Champions  2 days back

                                              going to mars LOL!

                                              • Aniruddha rao
                                                Aniruddha rao  2 days back

                                                Goes to Pasadena but doesn't meet Sheldon! WHAT!!!!

                                                • Mike Collins
                                                  Mike Collins  2 days back

                                                  How will this craft handle being tipped on its side due to landing on rough ground?

                                                  • Mike Collins
                                                    Mike Collins  6 hours back

                                                    @Thomas Frühwirth - not according to the pictures from the rovers that are already there. I can only assume they have put the smarts into the copter to make it examine the ground carefully before landing. Clever stuff if they have.

                                                  • Thomas Frühwirth
                                                    Thomas Frühwirth  1 days back

                                                    Mike Collins same question here... how will it launch from an angled surface? How can it land there? Is mars mostly flat so we don’t have to care?

                                                • Perry J
                                                  Perry J  2 days back

                                                  Step 1. Go to YT Search
                                                  Step 2. Search this keyword: Mimi Kid Art
                                                  Step 3. Enjoy!
                                                  First Flight on Another Planet!
                                                  We live and breathe words. .... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt--I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt.

                                                • You Know
                                                  You Know  2 days back

                                                  Oh emigrants developed n created technology....

                                                  • Ryan Marshall
                                                    Ryan Marshall  2 days back

                                                    I laughed when the guy made the noise imitating the blade noise but then it cut to the craft and I was like yeah he got it right 😂

                                                    • Isaac L-L
                                                      Isaac L-L  2 days back

                                                      Aircraft being there to help astronauts?

                                                      P1: so you’re a pilot too? What did you fly?
                                                      P2: I flew my modified Cessna 172...
                                                      P1: laughs at P2
                                                      P2: …on Mars

                                                      • Ryan Meikle
                                                        Ryan Meikle  2 days back

                                                        did anyone notice they stole the chamber goku trains in

                                                        • Lazarus The adventurer

                                                          Amazing video!!!
                                                          Thank you Derek!!

                                                          • Mugurel Teodor Andrici

                                                            Does vantablack have special temperature absorbtion properties knowing that it is soo black that sun radiation should not be so much absorbed?

                                                            • D G
                                                              D G  2 days back

                                                              Aerigon: Let's make the most expensive drone at $250 000



                                                              ...



                                                              Nasa: Hold my space balls..
                                                              $23 million for 90 sec flight time.





                                                              ... I know technically its not a drone but with all the sensors and whatnot it may as well be.

                                                              • nanosun
                                                                nanosun  2 days back

                                                                How about some kind of air balloon with ManShell obama's "Package" hanging down to scare up any life forms even STD's ???

                                                                • Sean Lazar
                                                                  Sean Lazar  2 days back

                                                                  Thank you for not watering down any of the science. These are great interviews!

                                                                  • Áureo
                                                                    Áureo  3 days back

                                                                    Great to see your videos are still coming and as interesting as always!! thanks for all the years of great content, Derek!

                                                                    • Silva
                                                                      Silva  3 days back

                                                                      Breaking the sound barrier by the tips would be damaging enough on earth but, like you said, mars has less air so I'm curious to know the specifics behind that. Could you follow this up through a comment or another video detailing how sound would work on mars as there is less air? I mean I can obviously tell that there will be less sound due to lack of moving particles. I'm more curious to what the extremes are on that side of the.....hmm, how do you call that....... other side of the dark matter? Ah who cares, I'm just curious :3

                                                                      • Isambardify
                                                                        Isambardify  3 days back

                                                                        Aerogel was too heavy but they found room for a great big NASA sticker? Who is going to read that!?

                                                                        • AngelLestat2
                                                                          AngelLestat2  3 days back

                                                                          just NASA wasting money for nothing.. because it seem pointless in comparison with hydrogen buoyancy vehicles using fuel cells.

                                                                          • Sion Paddy
                                                                            Sion Paddy  1 days back

                                                                            Waste of money? They could use the drone to scan Mars much more quickly and easier than using rovers.

                                                                        • Boris T.
                                                                          Boris T.  3 days back

                                                                          This guy is awesome give educational and great videos and he does not even moneytize his chanel's videos !! Woow

                                                                          • Neeraj Saini
                                                                            Neeraj Saini  3 days back

                                                                            it should have on sight cage opening system with protect its blades.

                                                                            • Neeraj Saini
                                                                              Neeraj Saini  3 days back

                                                                              hi what if while flying it accidentally fall .how they are going to protect the system?

                                                                              • MrTurboTash
                                                                                MrTurboTash  18 hours back

                                                                                It's built to withstand 80g's on launch from earth. being that light weight and that tough, it would need to hit mars surface at over mach 3 to take damage

                                                                            • Bassem B.
                                                                              Bassem B.  3 days back

                                                                              It's so weight sensitive that even aerogel is too heavy to incorporate!

                                                                              • DURGESH KUMAR
                                                                                DURGESH KUMAR  3 days back

                                                                                where is your another planet.

                                                                                • theja srinivas
                                                                                  theja srinivas  3 days back

                                                                                  Why cant they use vacuum insulation....and how they control the asymmetrical torque at that RPM ranges

                                                                                  • Z Fallen
                                                                                    Z Fallen  3 days back

                                                                                    I'm wondering if LIFI could be an option for sending the remote singal, hmm...

                                                                                    • Robert Trujillo
                                                                                      Robert Trujillo  3 days back

                                                                                      Not gonna lie, this one almost put me to 😴

                                                                                      • 89 Alpha
                                                                                        89 Alpha  3 days back

                                                                                        2:59 When you realize your gf is cheating on you.

                                                                                        • Adeboye Grillo
                                                                                          Adeboye Grillo  3 days back

                                                                                          My great granny is so old and wise and I usually ask her questions for clarification when I doubt some things. I asked my great granny if these things are really what they claim. She laughed and replied, "We have way too many _domestic_ problems already and all we do is fantasize. That's yet another problem on its own". Then, I got the message immediately.