Rover Companion Intelligent Helicopter calls home from Mars

(CNN) – NASA’s diligence rover’s aide and fellow traveler Ingenuity reported a good report and the company said it was “acting as expected”.

If successful, it would be ingenious to be the first helicopter to fly over another planet, leading to the “Wright Brothers extraterrestrial moment,” said Thomas Surbuchen, co-executive with NASA’s Directorate of Science Mission.

The rover landed safely on the surface of Mars on Thursday after being launched from Earth on July 30. Diligence has already submitted an interesting picture to show that you are safe and ready to go to a ‘verification’ stage before you start your journey across the surface.

LEE: NASA’s diligent rover has successfully landed on Mars

Now, for the first time the mission team heard directly from the helicopter, which is good news.

Ingenuity is currently tucked under the rover and attached to the belly of perseverance. The rover is approximately the size of a pickup truck, while the helicopter weighs 2 kg.

Acting as a communications transmitter between Mars and Earth and sending data through NASA’s Mars Reassessment Orbiter orbiting the red planet since 2006, it was able to call home via helicopter rover.

Ingenuity will be comfortable where he is, and will never drop the rover at any time for a test flight. The helicopter will be comfortable with the rover for 30 to 60 days.

“The helicopter from Mars is acting as expected. I currently charge for it, but if I drop it it will only depend on its solar panels. If it escapes the brutal cold Tuesday nights, the team will try to fly, ”reads a tweet on Diligence’s Twitter account.

“There are two key elements we are looking for in the data: the charging level of the invertebrate batteries, as well as ensuring that the base station is operating as instructed, instructs to turn off the heaters and maintain the electronic helicopter. .

“Both work well. With this positive report, we will move forward (Saturday) by charging the helicopter batteries.

Once the rover helicopter is deposited on the surface of the red planet, it must store intelligent energy to maintain warmth and other vital functions on cold Tuesday nights. Then the ingenuity will be automatic.

When the temperature drops to -95 degrees Celsius it will have to endure nights. As Elton John sings on “Rocket Man”, Mars is actually as cold as hell.

Maintaining battery function and health helps Mars survive weather before attempting further test flights. Once the rover finds the right “heliport” or a nice flat spot, a total of five test flights are scheduled over a 31-day period.

Take a look: Ingenious helicopter will try to fly over Mars

As long as there is diligence and ingenuity, the helicopter will boost its batteries. The helicopter has six lithium ion batteries. Once separated from the rover, the helicopter’s solar panel will charge those batteries.

The first flight of ingenuity will be short, with the aircraft suspended from the ground for about 20 seconds. But it will be a historic moment. Like the first Mars rover, Sojourner, ingenuity is a test of technology, a test. Demonstrating that this concept could work would lead to the development of helicopters, which could act as scouts for rovers and human missions to Mars in the future.

If that first flight was a success, “more than 90% of the project targets would have been reached,” NASA said.

LEE: Coming from Colombia without knowing English, he took NASA’s perseverance to Mars today: The Story of Diana Trujillo

Subsequent flights will last longer and test the helicopter’s higher capabilities. It has two cameras that can provide aerial images. To capture the scenes and sounds of these historic aircraft, diligence will train its cameras to ingenuity.

“We are in unfamiliar territory, but this group is used to it,” Mimi Ang, project manager of the ingenious helicopter on Mars at JBL, said in a statement.

“From here until the end of our air demonstration program almost every milestone will be paramount and each one must be successful for us to move on to the next. We will enjoy this good news for now, but we will have to go back to work.”

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Eden Hayes

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