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Ingenious Mars helicopter is ready to make its first flight on another planet



This task is the experimental companion of the Perseverance Wanderer. It carries a piece of history, which is very appropriate. A stamp-sized muslin fabric covers a wing on the Wright Brothers flyer and is fixed to a cable under the helicopter’s solar panels.

In December 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright (Orville) and Wilbur Wright (Wilbur Wright) flew at an altitude of 120 feet for 12 seconds, this is near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina The first power-controlled flight carried out.

“When NASA’s Sojourner rover landed on Mars in 1997, it proved that the “Red Planet” cruise is possible and completely redefines the way we explore Mars. Similarly, we want to understand the impact of originality on scientific research. Potential potential,”

; Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said in a statement.

However, before this historic flight to Mars, Ingenuity must complete a series of steps that will be taken in the next few weeks-they will test that this 4-pound rotorcraft can survive the harsh conditions of Mars without the help of perseverance. The ability to survive.

So far, Ingenuity is still safely hidden under the rover and has been connected to the power supply of the rover. The debris shield was released on March 21. The debris shield protected the helicopter during the landing of the Mars probe on Mars in February.
This image shows the flight area of ​​the Ingenuity helicopter from the perspective of the rover.

At present, the rover is heading to a nearby 33 x 33 ft (10 x 10 m) airport, and the Ingenuity team has selected this airport to test the helicopter’s flight. The site is named in honor of Jakob van Zyl, former director of solar system exploration and deputy director of project development and strategy, who is the head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He died in August 2020.

After depositing delicate objects on a flat surface, Perseverance will carefully retreat and take pictures of the helicopter. Although it sounds simple, this process will take more than six days. Commands sent from the team on Earth will help release the locking device that secures the helicopter to the abdomen of the rover.

This picture shows where the helicopter team will try to fly.

Trimming The pyrotechnic device will fire, which will cause the arm holding Ingenuity to rotate the helicopter at the current level.

Originality will follow a series of commands to unfold its two landing feet.

The electric motor will complete the rotation of the helicopter until it is vertical, and the other two landing feet will be deployed.

“As with all helicopter equipment, this deployment has never been done before,” Farah Alibay, head of integration of the Perseverance Rover Mars helicopter, said in a statement. “All activities are closely coordinated, irreversible and interdependent. If it is even implied that things are not going as expected, we may decide to postpone it by one day (one day) or longer until we understand what is going on. “

Perseverance rover landed on Mars for the first time and sent back images

The final steps of deployment include hovering the helicopter 5 inches above the surface of Mars during the last charge, while Ingenuity is still connected to the rover.

“Once we cut the power cord with perseverance and dropped the last five inches onto the surface, we hope to let our older friends drive away as soon as possible so that the sun’s rays can shine on the solar panels and start charging the battery.” JPL’s Mars Bob Balaram, chief engineer of the helicopter, in a statement.

The team will then confirm that Ingenuity sits firmly on the surface of Mars and communicates.

This image shows a portrait taken while the helicopter was on the earth.

After reaching the surface of Mars, the helicopter will perform some test swings and rotations of the rotor blades. It must use solar panels to charge itself and withstand the cold Martian night, which may drop to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

The team will closely monitor the weather on Mars, including wind and measurements made by the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer instrument on the rover, which may affect the flight.

Ingenuity will have 31 days to conduct its series of test flights, which may include up to five days, depending on the success of the first test. The first flight involved the helicopter rising about 10 feet from the ground and hovering for about 30 seconds before landing. Subsequent flights will last longer.

Within a few hours of the first flight, data will be sent back from Ingenuity and the cameras and microphones of the rover that will monitor and record the flight to determine whether the flight was successful.

In the next two days, images from the helicopter camera will also be sent back. Together, the data and images will help Ingenuity’s team plan the next flight.

MiMi Aung, JPL’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter project manager, said: “Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test. We want to see if we can fly on Mars.” All engineering data can be completed within 30 sol windows.”

Hear the wheels of the Perseverance Rover creaking on the surface of Mars

Sol is a day on Mars and lasts slightly longer than a day on Earth.

The team emphasized that this is an experimental helicopter and will carefully study every step, which makes things more flexible in terms of dates and milestones. And, of course, it all depends on whether Ingenuity can survive the flight milestone.

NASA shared the first video and audio, new images of the Mars Perseverance Rover

The thin atmosphere of the red planet makes it more difficult to fly to Mars, which is only 1% of the density of the earth’s surface. Mars also gets half of the solar energy absorbed by the earth during the day.

This is why Ingenuity is designed to be small and light-and has a built-in heater to survive the cold night.

Ballaram said to wit: “Since we started this journey six years ago, every step we have taken is an unknown area in the history of aircraft. Deployment to the surface will be a huge challenge, only spent on Mars. It can survive the first night. If there is no rover to protect it and maintain its power, it will be a bigger choice.”


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