NASA recently confirmed that its Ingenuity mini-helicopter has successfully touched down on the surface of Mars to brace for its first flight. NASA Ingenuity has been attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021.
As reported by AFP, NASA’s official reaction propulsion Laboratory (JPL) tweeted regarding the touchdown last week on Saturday. “MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million miles (471 million kilometres) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the ultimate drop of 4 inches (10 centimetres) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night”, read the tweet. Ever since its posting, the tweet has received over 40,000 likes and eight ,000 comments.
Ingenuity carries two cameras to document its flights, which may even be observed by the Perseverance rover.
Ahead of its historic first flight scheduled for April 11, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has achieved yet one more milestone after its Mars helicopter Ingenuity touched down on the surface of the Red Planet.
Ingenuity flew to the Mars while being attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, touched down on Mars on February 18. The American space agency aims to explore the surface of Mars with the assistance of an Ingenuity helicopter which weighs just 1.8 kgs.
However, flying a drone the surface of Mars would be way different than that on Earth due to the distinct atmospheric conditions of the 2 planets. The gravity on Mars, notably, is one-third of the Blue Planet and therefore the atmosphere is simply 1% dense as compared to the world .
Along with these conditions, another challenging aspect of the journey would be the temperature because it drops to minus 90 degree Centigrade during the night on Mars. It may end in freezing and rupturing the electrical components of Ingenuity.
The gravity of the condition are often evaluated by the statement of Bob Balaram, the chief engineer of Mars helicopter at NASA’s reaction propulsion Laboratory, who had said, “While getting deployed to the surface are going to be an enormous challenge, surviving that first night on Mars alone, without the rover protecting it and keeping it powered, are going to be a good bigger one.”
This is pertinent to know that Ingenuity carries two cameras to document its flights, which may even be observed by the Perseverance rover. If all goes well, Ingenuity will perform a series of ever-longer flights over the Jezero Crater within subsequent 31 sols (Martian days).
#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover's belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/XaBiSNebua
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 4, 2021
When will the #MarsHelicopter drop? Soon! First we need to charge it to 100%. Once it's no longer connected to @NASAPersevere, the craft must survive surface temperatures down to -130ºF (-90ºC) on its own.
Check out the chief engineer’s blog for more: https://t.co/UDgQPkMSRl
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 2, 2021
Come fly with us. #MarsHelicopter is preparing to do something that's never been done: controlled, powered flight on another planet. Takeoff is now slated for no earlier than April 11, with data arriving on Earth on April 12. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/JSep5lcKhR
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 1, 2021