The first helicopter on Mars officially landed on Mars.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced on Saturday night (April 4) that the Ingenuity Mars helicopter of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) landed on the surface of the “red planet” after its mother ship “Perseverance” rover crashed. The first flight of the helicopter was just over a week away.
An official from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said: “The landing of #MarsHelicopter was confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million kilometers) journey on @NASAPersevere ended up falling 4 inches from the abdomen of the rover to the surface of Mars ( 1
video: Watch NASA’s Mars helicopter unfold like a butterfly
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It weighs only 4 pounds. Ingenious (1.8 kg), it is a small solar-powered helicopter that relies on rechargeable batteries to keep its system warm during the harsh Martian night. To this day, “Perseverance” (Ingenuity) has been attached to Perseverance’s abdomen, feeding on the rover’s nuclear power system to keep it warm.
Now, the helicopter is using its internal battery to power important heaters.
Bob Ballaland, chief engineer of the Mars helicopter program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), wrote in a status update on Friday (April 2). “This can comfortably protect key components such as batteries and some sensitive electronic devices from damage in extremely cold temperatures.”
National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said that the “Ingenuity” program will first fly on April 11, and test data will reach Earth on April 12. This US$85 million UAV is the first helicopter ever sent to another world to test the technology of future aircraft flying on other planets. Carrying two cameras ingeniously to record its flight, the persevering rover will also observe it.
If all goes well, Ingenuity will perform a series of longer flights on Jezero Crater (where the Perseverance rover landed on February 18) on the next 31 Mars days. The altitude of each flight shall not exceed 16.5 feet (5 m) and will be carried out within a flight range of 300 feet (90 m).
NASA plans to conduct a series of tests before the first flight to launch Ingenuity’s four rotor blades (they rotate up to 2537 revolutions per minute), while Perseverance observes from a safe distance. Before the first flight, the rover will be placed in a safe location 16.5 feet away from the drone.
In the photo: NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover on the Red Planet
But first, of course, the originality must survive the severe cold of the first night on Mars. The helicopter’s battery will provide enough power for the heater to maintain a stable temperature of about 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15 degrees Celsius).
Ballaram wrote on Friday: “The next day, the Ingenuity team will be anxiously waiting for a letter from the helicopter.” “Has it stayed up late? Are the solar panels working properly?”
Ballaram added that mission team members will pay close attention to Ingenuity’s temperature and battery performance over the weekend to ensure the health of the helicopter. If everything looks good, Ingenuity can continue rotor testing and other system checks before the first flight, he said.
As novel as ingenuity, this helicopter is only part of NASA’s ambitious Perseverance Rover mission to explore an ancient delta in the Jezero Crater of Mars. The rover is expected to explore the area in the next two years to find signs of ancient life. Perseverance will also collect samples of Martian rocks for collection and return to Earth on future missions.
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