Thursday, 13 May 2021

NASA’s mini helicopter Ingenuity touches down on Mars

The US space agency last week announced the decision to push back the date of the first attempt to fly the helicopter on Mars from April 8 to April 11.
Flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth.
(Picture courtesy: NASA/JPL)
Ingenuity flew to Mars while being attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which made a February 18 touch down on the Red Planet.
“#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million miles (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,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, tweeted late on Saturday.
(Picture courtesy: NASA/JPL)
NASA scientists said that no rotorcraft or drone helicopter has been sent to any planet other than Earth before it. This is the first time the Ingenuity helicopter will fly on Mars.  
If its experimental flight test program succeeds, then a vehicle such as a drone or rotorcroft can be sent to other planets in the future. The data returned could benefit future explorations of the Red Planet including those by astronauts by adding the aerial dimension, which is not available today.
(Picture courtesy: NASA/JPL)
The system — from the performance of its rotors in rarified air to its solar panels, electrical heaters, and other components — has been tested and retested in the vacuum chambers and test labs of NASA’s JPL in Southern California.
(Picture courtesy: NASA/JPL)

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