For the first time, humanity will fly to another planet. A US unmanned helicopter should take off on Mars at night from Sunday to Monday. The chopper is called creativity.
The first flight is scheduled to begin on Monday at 6.30am NST. Within three seconds, the creativity should reach a height of a few meters. It stays there for about 30 seconds, before landing in the same place in a controlled fashion. The first data likely won’t reach the California Flight Control Center until hours later. Then it becomes clear if the trip was a success. If so, the Marshelicopter helicopter could fly about five times, each time from a few hundred meters. It will likely last about a month on Mars.
The dexterity is about three feet tall and weighs about 2 pounds. It launched at the end of July, as luggage in the cargo hold of Marskarretje Perseverance. Together, they crossed 480 million kilometers to Mars and landed there in mid-February, in a crater called Jezero.
One of Ingenuity’s missions is to deal with the low air pressure on Mars. This can be compared to pressing 30 kilometers to the ground. Ground helicopters cannot fly that far. Charging batteries is challenging, too, as Mars gets half of Earth’s solar energy during the day. At night, the parts on the plane are exposed to temperatures of minus 90 degrees.
If the technology turns out to be working on Mars, helicopters could help explore an exotic destination faster.
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