First Flight on Another Planet!

  • Published on Aug 10, 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 • 4 318

  • Perry J
    Perry J 3 hours ago +9

    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 13 hours ago

    Oh emigrants developed n created technology....

  •  14 hours ago

    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 14 hours ago

    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 16 hours ago

    did anyone notice they stole the chamber goku trains in

  • Lazarus The adventurer
    Lazarus The adventurer 17 hours ago

    Amazing video!!!
    Thank you Derek!!

  •  17 hours ago

    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 17 hours ago +2

    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 18 hours ago +1

    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 18 hours ago

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

  • Áureo
    Áureo 20 hours ago

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

  • Silva
    Silva 22 hours ago

    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 23 hours ago

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

  • AngelLestat2
    AngelLestat2 23 hours ago

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

  • Boris T.
    Boris T. Day ago

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

  • Neeraj Saini
    Neeraj Saini Day ago

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

  • Neeraj Saini
    Neeraj Saini Day ago +1

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

  • Bassem B.
    Bassem B. Day ago

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


    where is your another planet.

  • theja srinivas
    theja srinivas Day ago

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

  • Z Fallen
    Z Fallen Day ago

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

  • Robert Trujillo
    Robert Trujillo Day ago

    Not gonna lie, this one almost put me to 😴

  • 89 Alpha
    89 Alpha Day ago +1

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

  • Adeboye Grillo
    Adeboye Grillo Day ago

    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.

  • hartsy50
    hartsy50 Day ago

    Have they tested it in a wind?? I have RC Helicopters like that, the wind will make the rotors hit each other, especially when turning in a wind.

  • Michael Phillips

    Didn't these guys watch John Carter, they show exactly what flying machines work on Barsoom.

  • QuantumBraced
    QuantumBraced Day ago

    90 seconds, are you kidding me? Why even bother. Send a drone to Titan, you can fly it for half an hour with the atmospheric density and gravity there.

    • Sean Chang
      Sean Chang Day ago

      It rain methane on Titan, so there is that.

  • QuantumBraced
    QuantumBraced Day ago +3

    My PC fans can spin at 3500 RPM, so... I'm not impressed. :p

  • TheCrossfire951
    TheCrossfire951 Day ago

    Fist FIght on Animal Planet


    12:22 pretty badass that Gronk found a job so soon after his retirement 😝😝😝

  • Leahpar Suidualc

    And now ... imagine a Space-X Starship filled with a motherlode of crafts like this plus sponsorship for those nations that normally can not afford the prices to launch stuff into space and beyond, but actually can deliver crafts on that level of know-how. - Some decades ago, this thought would have been a drug-driven overly fantastic delusion, ... but in 2019? It became a possibility. Ain't that mesmerizing???

  • S G
    S G Day ago

    90 seconds is a long time?? what? Thats sucks! So they will spend milions for 90 seconds flyght? What the point. You know with all that money they waste on going to mars they can fix the earth and all the ppl dying of anger of the whole earth. Ppl are not thinking. Why go to try to go live on mars when we know we cant instead of making our planet better.

    • S G
      S G Day ago

      @Sean Chang except our world is not a cave so speeding billions on going to mars instead of billion on the making earth a better place is stupid. Our stupid. Our ocean is becoming trash. You never heard about the 6m continent?

    • Sean Chang
      Sean Chang Day ago

      With that thought we will never get out of the cave.

  • 0 1
    0 1 Day ago

    just insane what these people do, amazing!!

  • Flearther McPlane
    Flearther McPlane 2 days ago

    Drone on Mars? When will the stupid wake up and see that nothing is going to Mars?
    No one has ever been 'to the Moon'.
    No one is on an ISS.
    No one and nothing is or ever has been to Mars.

    • Sean Chang
      Sean Chang Day ago

      And all those airplanes are fake.

  • Steven B.
    Steven B. 2 days ago

    I know this is going to be an unpopular statement, but I feel someone needs to play the devils advocate. All of his questions were pertinent, however it must have slipped his mind to ask how much a vehicle that they admit is not meant for further scientific discovery of Mars (other than to see if it'll work at all), can only be used once a day for 90 seconds, costs. Though I think it is a novel concept, I also think that wastefully spending millions of dollars in labor/design/fabrication for a vehicle admittedly not meant for the further exploration of Mars is stupid, especially when they admit they can mimic Mars atmospheric conditions here. The costs should be weighed, because the scientific adage "we do it because we can" isn't enough to offset the costs to the taxpayer who is left funding such wasteful/pointless missions.

  • Old Conspiracy Dude
    Old Conspiracy Dude 2 days ago

    I can't imagine how you would land the helicopter- once you get near the ground the dust would kick up and all that energy in the blades would unload at once from the quasi atmospheric effect.

  • Abderrahim AOURIR
    Abderrahim AOURIR 2 days ago

    03:00 a new meme clip just born

  • Txepetxcc
    Txepetxcc 2 days ago

    Aerogel weight was too much? Really ?

  • womr89
    womr89 2 days ago +3

    What type of battery will be used? Lipo and Lion has to few charge cycles?

  • intertr0ns
    intertr0ns 2 days ago

    Looking forward to google street view Mars edition

  • Paul N
    Paul N 2 days ago

    Finally a better video, thank!

  • Tk.M
    Tk.M 2 days ago

    There is no actual use for it.

  • Vlad Quake
    Vlad Quake 2 days ago +4

    How did they test the gyro & sensor fusion of Mars magnetic field?

  • madcap magician
    madcap magician 2 days ago

    SO question you may be able to get an answer to, why did they choose battery power instead of a small nuclear type power system that could provide its own heat and not need to be recharged?

  • Charles-A Rovira
    Charles-A Rovira 2 days ago

    I bet a couple of our old KH-11 satellites (like the kind _gifted_ to *Google* ) making trips *'round Mars* would provide pretty good resolution.

  • Stephan Cote
    Stephan Cote 2 days ago

    Why not use a blimp?

  • Coin Hodler
    Coin Hodler 2 days ago

    🤔When you fly a drone on Mars the signal will not be in real time,. It takes the speed of light 4min to travel to Mars and 4min back!!

  • Krzychu K.
    Krzychu K. 2 days ago


  •  2 days ago +2

    It'll get stuck in the only tree on Mars.

  • Arashi Mokuzai
    Arashi Mokuzai 2 days ago

    This dinky little copter costs more than a full size one.

  • Julius Sokolowski
    Julius Sokolowski 2 days ago +2

    Only a true aeronautical engineer calls transonic flow "funky"! My kinda guy!

  • Gaimz
    Gaimz 2 days ago

    lol 90 seconds in flight.

  • Jānis Grīnvalds
    Jānis Grīnvalds 2 days ago

    Maybe I would add some charged spring mechanism to launch it for easier takeoff.
    As another concept I would consider pneumatical rocket as "bouncer"... but retractable helicopter blades as autogiro landing(as maple seeds).

  •  2 days ago +1

    i have exam today at 9:45 am yet i am here watching this at 1:10 Am because its so interesting than what i study man i wish studying can be interesting ;)

  • Paul J
    Paul J 2 days ago +1

    This little toy will never actually see flight in mars, but enjoy the trickery. Oh and before you say, so these engineers are in on it, no they are not and that is the beauty of the deception.
    Now on to the more interesting part, your ineffective insults or Ad hominem's towards me.

  • Sridhar Bheeman
    Sridhar Bheeman 2 days ago

    How is it going to land and change direction ?

  • Adenzel
    Adenzel 2 days ago +1

    They made their own wind tunnel using computer fans... both wonderful and scary how they hack things together like this with of the shelf parts, determination and a generous sprinkling of genius

  • confuseatronica
    confuseatronica 2 days ago

    first powered flight on another planet is the MSL Skycrane on Mars. It hovered in place, dropped the rover, then flew up and to the side in a controlled way before it crashed. That has to count.
    need another term to cover what you mean- maybe "aerodynamic flight" or "wingborne flight"

    • Sean Chang
      Sean Chang Day ago

      Maybe it doesn't count if it crashes.

  • petegalvs
    petegalvs 2 days ago

    Is it possible to get a low altitude orbit satellite on Mars?

  • Eng. EAR JR
    Eng. EAR JR 2 days ago

    Pior e um cara desse acreditar que fomos a outro planeta.

  • David Davids
    David Davids 2 days ago

    some info. in case you cannot see it for YOURSELF, this is another sillyass idea, foisted on us, by Big Science. (it ranks up there with the, 'water on mars' LIE.) why is this true. the atmospheric density on mars is estimated to be .06% of earth's. in other words, .0006 times 101,325 pascals; = 608 pascals. there is almost NOTHING for rotors to push around, in order to make THRUST. a rotor speed of 2500 rpm will NOT do ANYTHING; 200,000 rpm MIGHT work. the weaker martian gravity does NOT make the atmosphere any more dense. maybe someone should tell the fools, at JPL. googletranslate water on mars lmao

    • Sean Chang
      Sean Chang Day ago

      Day that I take a Flash-Player post as truth.

  • John 2018
    John 2018 2 days ago

    All they need to do now is to research how to put food in the bellies of millions of starving people out there, and how to spread around, more equitably and productively, some of the squillions hoarded by the gangster élites that control this planet.

  • Justin Hollohead
    Justin Hollohead 2 days ago

    You went to JPL or fantasy land, this is what happens in the fanatical world of the globe society. CGI, doctored photos and no tangible proof they even left low earth orbit, what a fantasy,

  • Robert Carrillo
    Robert Carrillo 2 days ago

    such a good video. well done.

  • Mohammad Al Adham
    Mohammad Al Adham 3 days ago

    They don't want the propellers to break the speed of sound, but isn't that harder on Mars since the speed of sound would be slower than that on Earth because of the lower pressure?

  • Mikhail Martinez
    Mikhail Martinez 3 days ago

    I understood seventy percent of this but loved a hundred percent of it

  • mak c
    mak c 3 days ago

    Plz get off all your blue shirts
    We are sick of seeing them

    PHYSICS PALACE 3 days ago

  • thisismycoolnickname

    Somebody's playing around with the flashdrive at 0:41 lol

  • Dark GT
    Dark GT 3 days ago

    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
    hasnain mustak 3 days ago

    Elon Musk: I need to organize a drone race there.

  • Andrè
    Andrè 3 days ago

    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
    Yiyi Yan 3 days ago

    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
    The canary Is dead 3 days ago

    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