Achieved NASA is a landmark in its extraterrestrial exploration program, with the maiden flight of its Ingenuity helicopter to the surface of Mars.
And the flight happened very early this morning, and she has received a NASA agency Flight confirmations of the Ingenuity helicopter it sent to Mars in its Perseverance rover.
This is a huge achievement, because the atmosphere is so thin on the surface of Mars that building a solar-powered vehicle, such as Ingenuity, is a huge challenge.
Ingenuity’s maiden flight was autonomous, with crews on the ground controlling it only by sending commands at appropriate times to determine when its 40-second flight should start and end.
Mars is about a third of Earth’s gravity, and the very thin atmosphere provides only 1 percent of our planet’s surface pressure, which means that the basic rules of flight are different, and the helicopter is testing many things for the first time.
And while this may sound like a short flight, it provides tremendous value in terms of data collected by the helicopter during the flight.
The helicopter has a much more powerful processor even than the Perseverance rover itself, because it intends to collect massive amounts of data about what is happening during its flight test so that it can transfer that to the rover, which then transmits the information to Earth.
This marks the first-ever flight of a powered vehicle on Mars, and while there has been a lot of modeling and simulation work predicting how things might go, no one really knows for sure what might happen before this direct test.
Due to the thinness of the atmosphere on Mars, Ingenuity’s propellers have to spin at a blazing speed of 2,500 rpm, compared to around 400 to 500 rpm for a helicopter on Earth, due to the thinness of the atmosphere on Mars, which has led to major technical challenges.
There are a few important potential applications for this flight, chief among them the development of future exploration missions, making it possible for NASA to use air vehicles on the Red Planet.
They can explore things like caves and peaks that rovers cannot reach.
NASA hopes to find out if aerial vehicles could be used in human Mars exploration in the future.
Mars explorers are making great use of their ability to use planes and ground vehicles when getting there.
NASA is now working on offloading data to get more insights from the flight, and recovering more photos and videos of the helicopter as it climbed, flew and landed.
After this flight, NASA is planning additional attempts to test flight based on residual strength and other parameters now that it knows Ingenuity can fly and has done so as intended.