Mars helicopter prepares for takeoff

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(NBC News) – NASA is preparing to send a helicopter to Mars. It would be the first vehicle heavier than air to fly over another world.

NASA announced the mission of the Mars helicopter this month, but it has been in development for years.

Engineers believe they found a way to fly a helicopter through such a thin atmosphere, compared to an altitude of 100,000 feet on Earth, where no helicopter could fly.

The helicopter has two counterrotating blades that rotate 3,000 times per minute, 10 times faster than helicopters on Earth.

"If we want to get as much science as we can, as fast as we can, we have to be really good at using robots," said Jim Bridenstine.

Bridenstine, the new administrator of NASA, recently said that the helicopter will fly connected to a mobile vehicle on a mission now known as Mars 2020.

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