The US space agency NASA has announced that the NASA helicopter “Ingenuity”. Which landed on Mars with the “Perseverance Rover”, is ready to make its maiden flight.
However, this first flight will not be possible before April 11. Because until then, in the specific conditions of Mars, Ingenuity will be finalized from various technical and safety aspects.
If the flight is successful, the engine will be the first helicopter to fly over Mars.
It should be noted that both Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity are the most important parts of the latest mission to Mars “Mars 2020”. The purpose of this mission is to find possible traces of life on Mars.
Furthermore, The Perseverance Rover is a six-wheeled vehicle orbiting the surface of Mars.
The Ingenuity helicopter was stored at the bottom of the same rover, which had just detached and landed on Mars a few days earlier.
Flight not easy
It will not be an easy task for Ignatius to fly in the atmosphere of Mars because the atmosphere of Mars is 10 times lighter than our terrestrial atmosphere and its gravity is 3 times less than that of Earth.
Although the engine is designed with the Martian atmosphere in mind, its actual performance will only be known on Mars under real conditions.
That’s why NASA experts are taking every precaution regarding engine flight.
It would be better to say that if the engineering flight to Mars is successful, it will be another great step of humanity in the field of space research.
NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) tweeted that the helicopter was 4 inches (10 cm) below the “belly” of the Perseverance Rover. Has successfully landed on the surface of Mars. His next milestone will be the night of Mars.
#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/XaBiSNebua
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 4, 2021
At night, the atmosphere on Mars becomes extremely cold and the temperature there can drop to minus 90 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it is important to know if the engineering equipment and safety systems are working properly in a very cold environment.
For other purposes including flight, the engine has a battery that weighs only 237 grams. And can provide up to 350 watts of electricity.
About some ‘ingenuity’
This lightweight “small Mars helicopter” weighs just 1.8 kilograms. And has a square box-like central part 7.7 inches long, 6.4 inches wide, and 5.4 inches thick.
It has four light but strong legs made of carbon fiber tubes for landing on Mars. They are 15.1 inches long.
The engine has two rotors at the top and bottom, each 4 feet wide.
In addition, Weighing 273 grams, its battery can generate up to 350 watts of electricity. Which is fitted with a solar panel at the top of the engine.