NASA plans to create a second-generation helicopter for Mars that can explore the planet through its tenuous atmosphere.
Scientists are currently using the Ingenuity helicopter to explore the Red Planet. The tiny spacecraft was delivered to the planet by the Perseverance rover. The successful demonstration of possible flights in the Martian atmosphere, together with the information collected by Ingenuity during its test flights, let NASA engineers move on to designing a next-generation flying spacecraft for exploring the Red Planet.
The next-generation helicopter is now referred to as the Mars Science Helicopter. According to the preliminary concept, this spacecraft will be much heavier and larger than Ingenuity.
In particular, the new helicopter will weigh about 30 kilograms and will be able to lift up to 5 kilos of scientific equipment on board. Its design provides for six rotors, and the distance that the device can fly is 10 kilometers.
It is unknown yet for what purposes the device will be designed. It is expected that the helicopter will explore areas that the rovers cannot reach.