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Home / Science / Meet the mini space helicopter, which will send back images from Mars this spring

Meet the mini space helicopter, which will send back images from Mars this spring



The videotape on Monday showed that Mars successfully landed Perseverance at the Jerzero Crater. This is just the opening performance of NASA̵

7;s fastest and most well-equipped rover for scientific research on the red planet.

The second act will be a new type of helicopter-also known as eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. Ingenuity, which weighs 4 pounds, hits nearly 300 million miles of Mars, which is attached to its gritty belly.nickname Ginny,” VTOL is powered by six lithium-ion batteries, which account for only 15% of its weight, and can be charged by the solar panel on the top of the fuselage.

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Steven Agid, an aeronautical engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, said: “Classified as a technology demonstration, Ingenuity will make five flights sometime in April.” Rob Report. “Starting with a simple vertical lift-off operation, each flight will last 90 seconds, ranging from 10 to 15 feet above the surface of Mars. Subsequent tests will expand Ingenuity’s flight range, with the longest flight covering three football fields. “

Clever, only 19.2 inches high, four carbon fiber blades are arranged into two 4-foot-long counter-rotating rotors. Due to the ultra-thin atmosphere of Mars, its rotation speed is about 2400 RPM, which is about five times faster than a typical helicopter. With a clearance of about 5 inches from the ground, Ingenuity will carry two cameras: one color with a view facing the horizon for obtaining terrain images, and another black and white view for navigation.

Although Ingenuity can communicate with NASA through Perseverance, Cape Canaveral will not remotely control the flight test. It takes about 12 minutes for a signal from Earth to reach Mars, and it takes about 12 minutes to respond. With such a delay, when eVTOL receives an activation signal, it will be pre-programmed with a test script.

To mitigate all conceivable risks associated with the first flight in an unpredictable and uncontrollable environment, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) conducted extensive simulation activities at its CalTech Research Center in Pasadena, California. From wind tunnel testing to reproducing the extreme temperatures and much lower gravitational conditions of Mars, Ingenuity maintained all the known conditions it might encounter on the red planet.

It is still 26 months away from the ideal conditions for another mission to Mars. Ingenuity’s verification of its flight characteristics and capabilities on the red planet will give NASA and JPL enough time to design, build and test the next eVTOL flying on Mars. . The next task will be freight, and eventually electric aircraft will be used for human transportation.

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