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Science

NASA's next Mars copter to have rotors tested in Japan

Tohoku University wind tunnel will simulate extraterrestrial conditions

In 2021, the Ingenuity became the first aircraft to make a powered, controlled flight on a planet beyond Earth.   © NASA/JPL-Caltech

TOKYO -- As the search for life beyond Earth heats up, Japan's Tohoku University is working with NASA to test whether the American space agency's next-generation Mars helicopter can take flight in the red planet's extremely thin atmosphere.

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter was landed on Mars in February 2021. That April, it became the first aircraft to make a powered, controlled flight on a planet other than Earth. A wind tunnel at Tohoku University will be used to test the blades of Ingenuity's successor, according to the university.

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