The craft will undergo a 30-day test campaign once it reaches the Red Planet to demonstrate the viability of travel above the Martian surface with a heavier-than-air craft.
Because Mars' atmospheric density is only 1 percent of Earth's, NASA says the drone's twin, counter-rotating blades would have to turn at almost 3,000 rpm - about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth. After placing the helicopter on the ground, the rover will be directed to drive to a safe distance to relay commands.
The Mars Helicopter is billed by NASA as a "technology demonstration" to prove that such aerial vehicles can be flown above the surface of other worlds, showing that they can be deployed as "low-flying scouts".
The helicopter will attempt up to five flights, going farther and operating for longer each time - up to a few hundred meters and 90 seconds, officials said. The helicopter contains a heating mechanism to keep it warm during frigid nights and solar cells to charge its lithium-ion batteries. Blades will spin at 3,000 rpm, 10 times the speed of a helicopter on Earth.
Mars 2020 is scheduled for launch in 2020 in the month of July.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described the prospect of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet as "thrilling", while Zurbuchen compared the mission to the Wright brothers pioneering flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903.
NASA now has two cars roaming Mars - the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers.
The helicopter faces a number of technical challenges, including being able to generate lift in atmospheric densities equivalent to an altitude of 30 kilometers on Earth, more than double the altitude record for a conventional helicopter.
BBC notes that existing vehicles on Mars have been wheeled ones bound on the planet's surface, which is prone to running into obstacles.
"The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers", Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa's associate administrator for science, said.
NASA said on Friday it will send a small helicopter to Mars as part of the USA space agency's 2020 mission to place a next-generation rover on the Martian surface, marking the first time such an aircraft will be used on another world.
The development of the Mar's helicopter began in the year 2013.
Instead, the helicopter will "fly the mission on its own". It is being done at the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.
This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle on Vera Rubin Ridge, Mars.
Both projects are considered "high-risk, high-reward" technology demonstrations, meaning that neither of the two missions will be impacted if the CubeSats and the "marscopter" fail.