21 February, Washington, DC
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity is still going strong after 19 flights on the Red Planet in a year.
One year ago today, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on the floor of Jezero Crater with a tiny chopper (February 18).
Ingenuity, a 1.8 kg rotorcraft, established that aerial research is possible on Mars despite the planet’s thin atmosphere in five pioneering flights last spring. It was the first rotorcraft to make powered flight beyond Earth.
“We’re still going strong,” said Jaakko Karras, deputy operations lead for Ingenuity at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, to Space.com.
“There isn’t a single topic about which we are concerned,” he added. “Everything is holding up well.”
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After flight number five,
Ingenuity’s $85 million mission was meant to be completed. According to the article, the solar-powered chopper performed so well and remained so healthy that NASA granted a mission extension.
During this new phase, the rotorcraft has been testing the limits of Red Planet flying. For example, on August 4, the helicopter traveled 383 meters of ground, rose 12 meters above the red clay, and achieved a top speed of roughly 19 kilometers per hour.
On these lengthier, more ambitious missions, it also serves as a scout for Perseverance, assisting the rover crew in planning routes and scoping out possible research objectives.
Ingenuity, on the other hand, did not always have it easy. The helicopter, for example, failed to switch to flight mode as anticipated in the weeks leading up to its first-ever sortie, delaying the historic liftoff by approximately a week, according to the study.
After the chopper identified irregularities in two of its six flight-control servo motors, Ingenuity’s first attempt at flight number 14 was canceled. Flight 19 was also delayed for over a month due to a massive dust storm on Mars.
However, ingenuity has overcome all of them thus far, indicating that the future of aerial exploration on Mars is bright, according to the paper. IAN
Ingenuity’s first attempt at flight number 14 was canceled after the helicopter discovered a problem with two of its six flight-control servo motors. A large dust storm on Mars caused Flight 19 to be delayed for more than a month.
According to the report, creativity has so far conquered all of them, demonstrating that aerial exploration on Mars has a bright future. IAN
During Ingenuity’s historic inaugural flight, the Perseverance rover was parked around 211 feet (64.3 meters) away at Van Zyl Overlook and served as a communications relay between the helicopter and Earth.
For more details and updates visit themarketactivity.com.