To know everything about NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter – First to fly on another planet


When NASA’s Mars Fortitude Rover The red planet touches at the end of this month, it will arrive with a lot of precious cargo. The brand new technology features a drone ready to take off for the first time on another planet: The Congenital helicopter.

Congenital is essentially a test flight – it is the first time experimenting with flying on another planet, and has limited capabilities. It weighs only 4 pounds, but there is no doubt to its success More ambitious exploration Of the red planet.

“The Wright Brothers showed that it was not possible to use the pilot,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Chief Pilot of Ingenuity said in a statement. “With simplicity, we are trying to do the same for Mars.”

Rover does not support any science equipment Firmness, And is considered a completely different mission from the rover. It currently sits in the belly of perseverance, only to emerge after touching the couple on Mars on 18 February.

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On February 18, 2021, NASA’s Mars Fortitude Rover and Ingenuity Helicopter (shown in the concept of an artist) will be two new explorers on the Red Planet.

NASA / JPL-Caltech


Mars vs Earth Flight

Mars’ thin atmosphere, which is 99% less dense than that of Earth, will make it difficult for Ingenuity to get enough lift to fly properly. Because of this, it is designed to be extremely lightweight. It is just 19 inches tall.

The Helicopter There are four large carbon-fiber blades, which are divided into two rotors, spaced approximately 4 feet and rotate in opposite directions at approximately 2,400 rpm – much faster than typical helicopters on Earth.

Additionally, the Jezero Crater, Perseverance’s landing spot, is extremely cold – with temperatures at minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit at night. A lot of Ingenuity’s power will go towards keeping warm rather than direct flight.

Flight controllers at JPL will not be able to control ingenuity while actually flying. Due to significant communication delays, advance orders of flights will be sent, and the team will not know how the flight went until its time. Will be able to make his own decisions about flying simple and keep himself warm.

“It’s a technology that’s really going to open up a new exploration modal for us, much like Rovers did 20 years ago when we flew Sojner for the first mission on Mars,” Matt Wallace, JPL’s Mars 2020 deputy project manager said during a news conference last week.

Fortitude is carrying more than two dozen cameras and Ingenuity has two of its own. Here on Earth, we will have front view of Ingenuity’s test flights from the rover’s point of view, as well as aerial shots from the helicopter.

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An artist’s concept of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter flying through the red planet sky.

NASA / JPL-Caltech


what’s in a name?

The name Ingenuity was originally introduced by Alabama high school student Venija Rupani for the Mars 2020 Rover, which was eventually named Firmness. But the NASA team felt that this would be the correct name for a helicopter that took such a creative approach to land.

Rupani wrote, “The spontaneity and brilliance of the people, who are working hard to overcome the challenges of inter-journey, allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration.” “Simplicity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things.”

Twenty-eight thousand students across America submitted essays and proposed names for NASA’s latest Mars rover. Virginia seventh-graders Alexander Mather’s suggestion, Perseverance, was eventually chosen.

Ingenuity still has to pass the test before the flight

The NASA team has a list of milestones for the helicopter to survive before going to Mars:

  • Is escaping Launch from cape canaveral, Which took place on 30 July; Travel to Mars; And landing on 18 February
  • Firmly positioned on the surface from inside the abdomen
  • Autonomous using internal heaters to keep themselves warm through harsh Martian nights
  • Charging autonomously with a solar-powered panel

After all this, Ingenuity will fly for the first time, just a few feet off the ground for about 20 to 30 seconds before landing. If it makes the first successful flight, the team will attempt four other tests within a one-month timeframe, each slowly pushing the distance and height limit, as a child bird learns to fly.

“Chopper Ingenuity is a high-risk, high-reward effort,” Wallace said. “It’s something we haven’t tried and there’s always a possibility of an issue. But that’s why we’re doing it – if it happens we’ll learn from the issue.”

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A Combined Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carries the Mars 2020 mission from Space Launch Complex-41 on July 30, 2020, with a Persistence Rover and Ingenuity helicopter.

Joint launch alliance


Adding a component of aerial exploration can prove important Future planets search.

“The Ingenuity team has done everything to test the helicopter on Earth, and we look forward to furthering our experiment in real environments on Mars,” said Mimi Aung, project manager of Ingenuity at JPL. “We are learning all the way, and it will be the ultimate reward for our team that we can add another dimension to the way we explore other worlds in the future.”

Helicopters may act as robot scouts on future Mars expeditions, viewing terrain from above may not have access to rovers, or as spacecraft carrying scientific equipment. They may someday be able to help future astronauts explore the red planet.

But before it can happen, perseverance needs to survive “Seven minute panic“Including its entry, descent and landing on Mars. NASA will be live-streaming the historic event on its website on February 18, which will begin at 2:15 pm ET.

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