NASA is working on a specific plan to conquer Mars. It first sent the Curiosity rover to move around the surface of the Red Planet and collect data. That robot has been there for more than five years, working nonstop. The space agency then sent InSight, another robot, last year, to give company to Curiosity. It is taking stock of the hidden treasures below the surface of Mars. The next logical step is to explore the surface of the planet from the air via a drone helicopter. Space research has become an obvious priority because US Vice President Mike Pence told NASA that he wants astronauts to revisit the Moon within five years.

He said it "holds great scientific, economic and strategic value."

News AU reported the drone-like device that will soon be hovering over the Red Planet will bring to light new information about the Martian surface as seen from its skies. NASA wants to pioneer this aspect and it will test the expertise of the team of engineers on the ground. They will have to control the helicopter from millions of miles away from where night temperatures on the distant planet could be in the region of negative 90 Celsius.

Engineers are hopeful of positive results

The statement by US Vice President Mike Pence has spurred NASA into action with its Mars Mission. It has tested its 1.8kg helicopter at its laboratory in California under simulated atmospheric conditions of the Red Planet.

The task was a challenging one and the tentative plan is to launch the helicopter with the Mars 2020 rover in July 2020. News AU says that will ensure the drone helicopter reaches its destination in February 2021. That will enable it to undertake flights, subsequently. The good news is that the helicopter meant for that mission has completed its first test flight.

Ambitious plans of NASA

According to Space, the Mars 2020 rover will touch down inside Jezero Crater with the solar-powered helicopter inside.

It will have two 5.9-foot-long (1.8 m) rotors and after landing on the soil of Mars, it will conduct some test flights - each will be a maximum of 90 seconds duration. The success of this mission will pave the way for future missions involving multiple choppers assigned specific tasks.

NASA’s project team tested the model helicopter in January in the Space Simulator for over 75 minutes of flying time and are satisfied with the results. As the project manager, MiMi Aung said, "This is our helicopter bound for Mars. We needed to see that it worked as advertised."