NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter successfully lands on Mars surface

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter successfully lands on Mars surface

Credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter is one step closer to making its first flight to Mars. Saturday (3), Space Agency Announced The helicopter was successfully dropped to the surface of the planet by a rover that has essentially served as Ingenuity’s space taxi, recharging station and heater until now.

Since arriving on Mars in February, NASA’s $ 80 million 1.8-kg helicopter has been Stomach Connected Perseverance of the rover. Recently, however, investigations began Simplicity to your destination: 10 to 10 m aerodrome, chosen to be flat and unobstructed, where it will attempt the first motorized and controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.

The complex deployment process began as soon as persistence reached the exact location that NASA wanted in the aviation sector. The day-long program consisted of rotating the helicopter from horizontal to vertical, extending its legs and charging six battery cells of Ingenuity through a single fixture.

The most tense moment came, no doubt, on Saturday, when the rover launched Ingenuity from a height of 10 centimeters on the surface of Mars. As we all now know, it was a success. “Confirming Mars Helicopter Touchdown! The 471 million km journey aboard the Pursuit ends with a final launch of 10 cm from the belly of the rover to the surface of Mars. The next milestone? The night survived,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote No twitter Not on saturday.

While this “living night” comment may sound like a phrase used for dramatic effect, NASA employed it in a literal sense. According Explained by Bob BalaramChief engineer of the Mars helicopter project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, so far, has been strongly linked to Ingenuity, which allowed it to charge its batteries and keep the space at 7 ° C to use its thermostat-controlled heater is.

It is very important to have a heater on Mars, where the temperature can fall to -90 ° C. The heater comfortably protects sensitive components, such as batteries and helicopter electronics, from damage such as freezing or cracking, which may be caused by low temperatures.

But that was the life of Ingenuity with perseverance. Now that he is alone, the helicopter will have to be used for freezing temperatures. It also has to rely on its ability to generate energy. Before saying goodbye to Perseverance, Ingenuity fully charged his battery. Now, it will depend on the Sun.

Balaram said that the Sun’s energy is weaker on Mars, or about half that of what we would find on Earth on a sunny day. Nevertheless, it is sufficient for the solar panel of the helicopter to charge its own battery.

Balaram said in a status update on NASA’s website on Friday (two), “Congenital cannot keep its internal temperature at a ‘pleasant’ 7 degrees Celsius – this consumes the battery’s precious energy.” “Instead, when he wakes up on the surface after a fall, he will adjust his thermostat to around -15 ° C or less. Then he has to save the first night on his own! “

Balaram said the Ingenuity team was awaiting a response from the helicopter on Sunday to ensure that she survived the night and that her solar panel worked as intended. Until publication, there was no additional update on how Ingenuity was doing on Sunday, but we hope it is doing well!

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In the coming days, the Ingenuity team will examine the temperature and recharge performance of the rover. If these probes go well, NASA will proceed with unblocking the rotor blades of the helicopter and testing engines and sensors.

No saturday NASA said With the receipt of data on Earth on 12 April, the first flight attempt by Ingenuity would take place no earlier than 11 April. The helicopter will have 30 Martian days or 31 Earth days to carry out its test flight operation.

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Raven Weber

About the author: Raven Weber

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