Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU
NASA’s Ibdaa helicopter successfully sent its first image of the surface of Mars back to Earth. Last weekend, the helicopter was placed on the surface of Mars by the persistent Mars probe and is expected to make its first test flight on Sunday, April 11th. Creativity must make history by making the first powered flight on a celestial body other than Earth.
The 1.3-kilogram helicopter took its first image of the surface of Mars on April 3, after which it was sent back to Earth. This small helicopter, like a helicopter, was brought to the surface of Mars with the Mars rover on February 18, 2021. Before the small helicopter was placed on the surface of Mars, Ingenuity batteries were fully charged with power from the Mars probe. Now that the helicopter is standing alone on the surface of Mars, the small solar panels should power the helicopter. Energy is essential for creativity because it needs it to fly and to keep itself warm as its temperature can drop to -90 ° C on Mars at night. Over the next few days, the persistent Mars rover will move so far from creativity that a small helicopter will have all the space it needs to take off. During Ingenuity’s first planned flight, the tiny helicopter will fly for thirty seconds and not fly higher than a few meters. If this test flight succeeds, NASA plans longer and higher flights with dexterity.
The small helicopter was developed by the US Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and primarily aims to test and demonstrate new technologies that they wish to be used further in the future to explore other planets and moons. During the test flights, the JPL Mars Helicopter Scout, dubbed “Creativity”, will fly up to 10 meters above the surface of Mars and can travel a maximum of 600 meters. The unmanned helicopter can fly autonomously and instantly communicate with the Perseverance Mars probe once it lands again. The creativity consists of four landing legs, two rotors, batteries that provide power, a solar panel that charges the batteries, sensors and cameras to photograph the Martian surface. Flying on Mars is very different from flying on Earth. For example, the density of air is only 1% of that on the ground, which means that a helicopter drone has to make a lot of effort to take off and stay in the air. The thin air on Mars can be compared to Earth’s air at an altitude of 30 kilometers. Engineers solved this problem by rotating the blades of this small helicopter five times faster than a regular helicopter on the ground. The routes in which Ingenuity will fly will be sent to the drone helicopter by NASA in advance, after which the small drone will send all the data collected to persevere.
First photo taken by dexterity little helicopter – Photo: NASA / JPL