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Mars helicopter: NASA’s Ingenuity rotorcraft survived the first freezing night



Jezero Crater is an ancient lake bed on Mars, and the current site of Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity helicopters, its temperature may drop to minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It is low enough to seriously damage the electrical and battery components of the helicopter.

The 4-pound helicopter finally left the belly of the Persevering Rover on April 3, and has been hiding there since the rover was launched from Earth in July.

Originality went through a series of movements, unfolding from below the rover, looking like a butterfly’s metamorphosis, and then dropped the last 4 inches to the surface of Mars.

“This is the first independent appearance of Ingenuity on the surface of Mars,”

; MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. “But we have now confirmed that we have the right insulation material, the right heater and enough energy in the battery to withstand the cold night. This is a huge victory for the team. We are very happy to continue to be Ingenuity’s first A stage to prepare for the flight test.”

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: A historic journey to fly on another planet
When Ingenuity does fly (probably as early as April 11), it will be the first power-controlled flight on another planet. To commemorate the first feat carried out on earth, Ingenuity carried a cloth sample from the Wright brothers’ airplane Flyer 1.

Smart was the first rotorcraft to be sent to Mars, and it challenged the engineers who designed the aircraft for several reasons. It must be small enough to hide under the rover without jeopardizing the mission of perseverance, and the mission of stars is the first person to search for evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars.

In order to fly in the Martian atmosphere, the Martian atmosphere must also be lightweight. The Martian atmosphere occupies only 1% of the earth’s atmosphere while still having enough energy to heat itself and survive the cold Martian night. The thin nature of the Martian atmosphere makes it difficult to generate lift and unable to lift off.

Soon after Perseverance placed the “intelligence” in the center of its airport, the rover evacuated the helicopter. This enables the helicopter’s solar panels to collect critical sunlight.

On April 4, the Perseverance rover can see the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars.

Perseverance sent back the image of the four legs of the helicopter sitting on the ground On April 4th, the current in-line helicopter blades will be released on April 7, and mission teams on Earth will send commands to the helicopter to “swing” the blades.

The helicopter also needs to perform some checks on the computer, which will help Ingenuity fly through the Martian atmosphere on its own.

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

Now, Ingenuity no longer borrows power and heat from the rover, so the helicopter will send back information about its power and thermal control system performance in the next two days. This will enable the helicopter team to configure the necessary settings to ensure that Ingenuity can survive the next 30 days of its mission.

Originality is a technical demonstration, which means that its mission is short compared to the two-year plan of the rover to explore the Jezero Crater. Now, the helicopter is on the surface of Mars. It has 31 Earth days (or 30 Martian sols) and can conduct up to 5 test flights.

In the first flight, the helicopter will attempt to rise about 10 feet (3 meters) into the air from the middle of its 33 x 33 feet (10 x 10 meters) flat airfield, turn and touch back, and then back down. The trial period should last about 30 seconds. Future flights will test the helicopter’s ability to fly higher and longer.

The figure shows the general activity of the helicopter.

At the same time, the Perseverance Rover will sit in a nearby overlook, observe the flight situation, and capture images, video and audio. These will reach Earth a few days after the first flight.

Once Ingenuity’s journey is over, the rover will focus on its scientific missions and begin studying rocks and collecting samples, which will return to Earth in future missions.

Teddy Tzanetos, Deputy Head of Operations for Ingenuity Mars Helicopters at JPL, said in a statement: “Our 30-sol test plan is full of exciting milestones.” “Regardless of the future, we will obtain all flight data within this time frame. .”

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