(CNN) –– When the ingenious helicopter flies to Mars this month it will be like renewing a Wright Brothers moment… but on another planet. This first motorized and controlled aircraft on another planet has been in production for many years. It has roots in its first attempt at earth.
117 years have passed since Orville Wright flew Flyer 1 for 12 seconds on a historic day in December 1903. It was in the Gill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. In the picture captured by John Daniels, a member of the U.S. Rescue Service at the scene, Orville’s brother Wilbur can be seen running with the plane. During the fourth and final attempt that day, Wright reached a plane in almost 60 seconds.
At a distance of millions of kilometers and over a century, the six-pound ingenious helicopter will reach almost 10 feet through the thin Martian atmosphere using its two pairs of 1.2-meter blades. The small helicopter circled in the air for 30 seconds, taking pictures, then back to the surface.
Flight First Flight Special. This is undoubtedly the most important aircraft we have ever planned to do, ”said Howard Griffith, chief pilot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JBL) in Pasadena, California.
The Perseverance Rover, which brought the brilliant helicopter to Mars, will observe it from a distance of 60 meters from a place called the Vehicle Surveillance Base. The site is located one meter above the flying zone.
“Think of it as a place of observation,” explained Farah Alibe, the lead coordinator for ingenuity at JBL. “If you ever go to a national park and have a beautiful view, you want to stop there. Our rover is going to do that, and our beautiful vision will be ingenious on Mars. We are going to do everything we can to catch it when ingenuity flies. “
During the first flight of ingenuity, the diligent rover will attempt to take pictures and video. The helicopter looks like a small plane taking off, and the rover’s microphones try to pick up that sound.
Images and data from the helicopter and rover will be sent back to Earth hours and days later. So perseverance will only witness at the right moment of this historic flight.
People from all over the world were waiting to see the perseverance landing successfully on Mars on February 18th. Notice the first picture shared after the rover landed. But these historical moments do not always occur on the world stage. Only five people saw the Wright brothers’ first flight.
Ingenuity made its first flight – and up to four more in 31 Earth days – using a series of instructions sent by JBL pilots. A board computer will monitor the landscape characteristics of the images taken by the helicopter. Thus, small changes can be made up to 500 times per second to monitor the helicopter in the event of interruptions such as airborne gases.
If the first flight is successful, the ingenuity will try to fly higher and longer to test the limits of what can be done.
The diligent rover will explore the Jessero Valley, the site of the former Lake and River Delta, for the next two years. Their goal is to search for evidence of previous microbial life and to collect samples that will return to Earth for future work.
But April is a time when intelligence can shine. At the end of those 31 days, the attention-grabbing ingenuity comes to an end. This is the life of a tech demo designed to last a short time.
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made four successful flights, destroying Flyer 1 before the wind blew.
Ingenuity is not a problem for its creators. Just like the technical demonstrations and tests of the past, rovers like diligence can explore Mars today.
NASA’s Pathfinder mission landed on Mars in 1997. At that moment, a microwave-sized rover called Sogerner crashed to the surface. The technical demo was expected to last seven days, but it lasted 83 days.It took photos, explored the landscape of Mars, and captured chemical and atmospheric measurements.
And, most importantly: Soggerner proved the success of the first wheel rover on another planet.
Sojourner embarked on a new era on Mars to redefine what we thought was possible on the planet’s surface. It completely changed our approach to how to explore there, ”said Lori Clace, director of NASA’s planetary science division. “That little rover made all possible trips possible. Now it is capable of bringing other technological demonstrations such as diligence, the size of a small car, ingenuity, which will further expand our horizons.
Sogerner demonstrated the value of surface motion. So the rovers of spirit, opportunity, curiosity and perseverance went their way. JPL said none of this was planned before Sojourner’s successful trip. Said Bobby Brown, director of planetary science at.
If ingenuity succeeds, it will lead to a similar evolution.
“I can only imagine where we could be in a decade or so,” Brown said. “If we can scientifically explore Mars with its thin atmosphere, we can certainly do the same in other parts of the solar system, such as Titan or Venus.” The future of space exploration is solid and strong, “he said.
The story behind the ingenious helicopter on Mars
The desire for ingenuity began in the 1990s when Bob Balaram, a robotics technologist at JBL, asked Ilan Grove, a professor of astronomy and astronomy at Stanford University. I.e., a miniature aircraft to Earth. But, many imagined it on Mars.
During the call he proposed it to NASA, but was not selected for funding. The Mars helicopter will be grounded for 15 years, while Balaram has worked on other missions for Mars.
The time for ingenuity came in 2013. JBL Director Charles Elixie attended a presentation on drones and helicopters that year. So, he returned to the lab asking if one of those vehicles could fly to Mars. Balaram recreated his original project and developed the first conceptual design for the possibility of incorporating it into a 2020 Mars rover as a scientific instrument, which will be diligent.
Ingenuity was rejected as a tool for the rover. However, it received funding and was selected as a technical demonstration of the rover flying to Mars. Waiting all the time saved is really a good thing.
“We could not have designed something like this in the 1990s when we did not have the equipment and battery technology,” explained Balaram, the helicopter’s chief engineer. “So really, the timing was right, in the sense that we needed some advances in technology,” he said.
It was time to create a new type of vehicle that would have both an aircraft and a shuttle. Moreover, he diligently did not cause any danger. Precisely the rover was NASA’s first real-time astronomical mission to search for signs of ancient life on another planet.
During the design phase, the team operated a small, hand-controlled helicopter in a Martian-like atmosphere. Even if the vehicle is raised, it is not stable. Instead, he jumped and crashed.
“What we learned from that was that the human reaction time for this helicopter was not enough because the atmosphere was so different,” said Darian Bailey, the helicopter team’s mechanical engineer at JBL. “So, after learning that, the team saw the development of an autonomous helicopter.”
It should be light, which is 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere and rises through the thin atmosphere of Mars. But the helicopter had to include a solar panel, a battery system, a computer, a radio, sensors and cameras in the air-friendly design.
Testing the helicopter was another challenge because the test room had to simulate Mars on Earth. The flight test is important before the ingenuity goes to Mars.
“They have no guide on how to test a helicopter going to Mars. Like the Wright brothers, they do not have a guide on how to test gliders and moving aircraft,” Balaram said. They had to figure it out. He said.
To do this, the team built its own air tunnel in a vacuum chamber using 900 computer fans so they could create ingeniously facing winds on Mars.
7.6 m Thermal vacuum chamber controlled temperature and pressure. This allowed the team to test a helicopter flying in an atmosphere similar to that of Mars, as well as a system that would compensate for the difference in gravity between Earth and Mars.
Each week a technical crisis or challenge develops, taking seven long years of design, construction and testing, Balaram said.
Thanks to ingeniously designed and tested missions, Mars’ current helicopter went into production in 2018, Bailey said.
The team brought together people from specific factions, but they all got out of the box to help the helicopter components work with each other.
Bailey has been at JBL for five years and was called up to join the Mars helicopter team when he was 24 years old.
“It means a lot to be a part of this team and to witness this historic moment,” he said.
The helicopter and rover crew are eagerly awaiting the first flight, which could open the way for helicopters and other rotor graphs to one day act as scouts for rover and astronauts on Mars.
“It was a fantastic journey to discover, explore and work with wonderful people,” Balaram said. “It’s not over yet,” he said.