Space Exploration in Our Future

Learn about future plans for space exploration, like the Mars landing of the newest rover (and its helicopter), the next astronaut moonwalk and a space outpost that will orbit the moon.

Ingenuity: First Mars Helicopter

The newest Mars rover "Perseverance", along with its helicopter "Ingenuity", successfully launched from Earth on July 30, 2020.  Their spaceflight to Mars will take a few months. They are expected to land on the Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021.  Ingenuity will be the first helicopter to fly on Mars!  Learn more about Ingenuity, then build your own model of Ingenuity.

Video Courtesy NASA

Mars Helicopter Build
Materials
  • Scissor

  • Tape

  • Glue

  • String or Dental Floss (4-6 inches)

  • Tape

  • Ballpoint Pen

  • Printable Cutout Sheet for this Activity (from Cosmoto's "Week 5" Site Page) 

Step 1

Cut along the dotted lines of the shapes on the cutout sheet.  

 

Also, cut the rectangle shapes showing the the helicopter blades.  

 

Use a ballpoint pen to make a small hole in the middle of square 5.

Step 2

Bend the dotted lines to form a cube. Then, tape sides 2 and 3 to side 5. Leave side 4 open.

Step 3

Thread a 4-6 inch piece of string/floss through the hole in square 5.

 

Tape the string/floss to the underside of square 5.

 

Tape square 4 to square 5 to close the paper box.

Step 4

With the other cutout shaped like a "T", use a scissor to cut the short dotted line at the end of the "T" (if you have not done so already).

 

 Next, on this "T" shaped cutout, fold one of the upper-halves of this cutout along the solid angled line that appears on that half of the cutout.

 

Then, fold the other upper-half of this cutout in the opposite direction where the other solid angled line appears.

 

Glue a rectangular cutout showing the helicopter blade to one of the bent tops of the "T" shaped cutout.  With the remaining helicopter blade cutout, glue it to the other bent top of the "T" shaped cutout.

Step 5

Cut a small hole through the outline of a circle that appears at the bottom of the helicopter cutout.

Step 6

Thread the string (from the paper box you just made) through this circle and tape it in place.

Step 7

You have now completed your working model of Ingenuity, the first helicopter on Mars!  Drop the helicopter, and the blades will spin!

Images of Pillars of Creation, Future Mars Base, Curiosity Rover, Milky Way, Moon, and International Space Station are courtesy of NASA. Image of Earth's atmosphere courtesy of Science Museum of Exploration.