NASA’s Mars Helicopter Prepares for Its First Flight Date

Before long going to search for signs of Martian microbes, NASA’s Perseverance Rover may first be the most technically exciting part of its mission: flying a helicopter.

The Fixture, packed under a car-shaped robotic vehicle that landed on Mars last month, is a four-pound small helicopter intended to be displayed It is possible to fly to another planet.

NASA officials announced on Tuesday that they had selected the site for this display of supernatural hovering – where it landed.

The rover is driving to the location where it will carefully drop off the ingenuity and then inspect flights back. Ingenuity is scheduled to take off no earlier than April 8, although Ingenuity Chief Engineer Bob Balaram said it could go up or back for a few days.

“It will be 31 Earth Days to try to become the first helicopter to fly on another planet,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said during a news conference on Tuesday.

NASA officials described it as a “Wright Brothers Moment” for space exploration, and on Tuesday the agency revealed that Ingenuity included an artwork from the first Wright airplane to fly from Kitty Hawk, NC, in 1903. is.

Mr. Balaram said, “We are very proud to honor the experimental aircraft, which is before carrying a small piece of cloth.

By 1997, all spacecraft sent to the surface of Mars were stationary landers. But that year, the Pathfinder mission included something revolutionary for NASA: a wheel robot. That rover, sojourner, was roughly the size of a small filing cabinet., And planetary scientists quickly realized the benefits of being able to move around the Martian landscape. Four more NASA rovers have followed the Red Planet firmly.

Originally the essence of Sozourner’s aerial counterpart is the demonstration of a novel technique that can be used more widely on subsequent missions. Ingenuity’s body is about the size of a softball with four spindle legs sticking out. Two sets of blades, each about four feet from tip to tip, will spin in opposite directions to generate lift.

Flying on Mars is not a trivial effort. There is not much air to push to generate lift. On the surface of Mars, the atmosphere as dense as Earth is only 1/100 th. Low gravity – a third of what you feel here – helps to be airborne. But flying from the surface of Mars is comparable to flying at an altitude of 100,000 feet on Earth. No helicopter has flown that high on our planet, and it is twice the typical flight altitude of jetliners.

since Faultless arrival of Mars on February 18 Within a 30-mile-wide pit named Jezero, engineers are investigating the spacecraft and its equipment. It first consists of some miniature drives and a laser firing that evaporates rock and soil to identify chemical elements.

Two microphones on the firmament are recording some sounds of the red planet, including the rustle of the winds, Laser click Because it rocked a rock about 10 feet away and Rover six wheels metal cover and scratch noise When they rolled into the area.

“Everything is going very well,” Mission Scientist Kenneth Farley said during a virtual presentation at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference last week. “But this is mostly the checkout phase. We are not really doing full bore science yet. “

Dr. Farley said that scientists have already indicated wind erosion on some rocks. The other rocks looked as if they were formed by the flow of water. “This is quite promising for our study,” he said. Scientists also observed porous rocks with them, which could be volcanic rocks, which trapped gas bubbles in them as they cooled.

After the completion of the Ingenuity tests, the main science exploration will begin in early summer.

One cannot take a direct route to the river delta at the rim of Zero as there is a treacherous zone between the sand dunes which lie in the middle. Instead it will drive around sand dunes.

Team members are still deciding whether to go north, a faster route, or to the south, which looks more geographically complex because it includes sites with mineral deposits that may be remnants of the river delta.

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