There has just opened a new world of flight opportunities.
NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter lifted the first-ever powered flight to a world outside the earth earlier this morning (April 19) to the Red Planet.
The 4-lb. chopper (1.8kg) was scheduled to rise today at 12:31 am EDT (0431GMT) from the floor of Mars' Jezero Crater, reach a height of ten feet (3 meters) above the red dirt, and land after approximately 40 seconds.
At approximately 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT), data from Ingenuity—that the small rotorcraft has hit its tracks through its far bigger partner NASA's Perseverance rover. On the Martian surface below, Ingenuity's first photo showed the helicopter's shadow and the Perseverance rover took amazing videos of this Martian historic flight.
"The first flight of a powerful aircraft on another planet was Ingenuity." "The first flight!" Håvard Grip, Chief Pilot of Ingenuity, told NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California that he had been confirming telemetry.
While short today's flight, it may well change and pave the way to comprehensive Martian aircraft exploration along the way. Thanks to the pioneering work of Ingenuity in future missions, NASA officials have pointed out that choppers may also have choppers on their own as scouts for the rovers or data collectors.
The shadow of the aircraft at the Red Planet surface displays the picture taken by the Ingenuity Mars helicopter on its historic first flight on 19 April 2022. (Source: SPACE)
Pioneering Martian flight
The 85 million dollars project of Ingenuity is a technology show to show that a strong, regulated flight on the Red Planet is feasible. The Martian atmosphere is only 1% as thick as the Earth at sea, so there is not much air to push against by helicopter blades. The advantages that aircraft derive from the lower pull in Mars, which is just 38 percent stronger than Earth, are higher than this.
Ingenuity was flown to the belly of Perseverance on Mars and landed in Jezero on February 18 with a rover of $2.7 billion. The solar-powered rotorcraft began to be installed earlier this month on the floor of the crater and began to prepare for its long, historic flight campaign that was original to begin on 11 April.
The core staff behind the groundbreaking Ingenuity flight saw a Mars flight from a control room in Pasadena, California, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They stood up, put their hands up, and encouraged the progress of the flight. MiMi Aung, Project Manager of Ingenuity, successfully spoiled her contingency speech, which was written in case of failure. Each world has only one first flight, she said in the past.
"We can tell now that people have traveled to another planet with a rotorcraft!" As her team applauded, Aung said. "We talked so much about the moment on Mars about our Wright brothers, and it's here."
Ingenuity's Martian airfield was named in NASA after Orville and Wilbur Wright, Ingenuity's Wright Brothers Field, who carried out their first air heavier than earth flight in 1903. There's a part of your Ingenuity Wright Flyer plane for the case.
After watching from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, NASA's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity team celebrate the first Mars drone fought, captured by the Perseverance rover on April 19, 2021.
Due to the pandemic constraints of COVID-19, a lot of the task team of Ingenuity observed the event via WebEx video conference. Aung sent all distant performance hugs to them.
Aung told her squad, "You know, I'm practically hugging you.
Ingenuity is not a flight campaign focusing on data collection. Ingenuity does not have scientific instruments but a black and white navigation camera and a 13-megapixel color imager are given. It is only intended to demonstrate that the feat is feasible.
The 19-inch (48 cm) helicopter sailed through the preflight controls to finally test the craft's twin 4-foot long (1.2 m) rotors on April 9. on a tentative high-speed spin test. The carbon fiber blades had to rotate at some 2400 revolutions a minute — their rotational speed during operating flights — while Ingenuity was still on the ground. However, the chopper had a problem with his "watchdog time" and could not switch to flight mode, as required by the test.
Initially, the task team moved the flight back to April 14 and then again postponed it to resolve the problem again. Aung declared on Saturday (17 April) that the team was sure they found a workaround – an adjustment of the Earth-balled command sequence – and today the planned first-flight date.
Aung wrote on a blog Saturday: 'This approach is the least disruptive for a helicopter that behaved just as we planned before we found the watchdog issue.' "It's the easiest since we don't need to adjust its settings."
As the flight, this morning shows, the correction was successful. Ingenuity is flown in the manipulated series as designed, making it the first robot to ply the thin and dirty skies of Mars.
Don't assume that Ingenuity, however, is a thoughtless drone from this command focus; the small robot is able to have considerable autonomy. Ingenuity, for instance, receives its cookies in real-time during flight by analyzing the images taken by its navigation camera.
More will be available
Ingenuity will soon travel again, if everything goes as planned – up to four more times, indeed, during its monthly window.
Aung said during the news conference earlier this month that it was probably going to be much higher and further on flights two and three, up to 16.5 feet (5 m) from the ground and down a height of 165 feet (50 m). Sorts four and five might be "truly adventurous," she said if Ingenuity aces these two next flights.
"History tells us that Orville and Wilbur went back to work soon after their first flight," said Aung of the Brothers Wright, who flew for the first time on Earth at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on 17 Dec 1903. They flown 3 times higher and farther every day than last, Aung said. Aung said.
"It's just the first big flight," said Aung. "Praise me, take a moment, and let's get to work!"
The whole flight campaign will be supported by perseverance; the rover must be used for contact to and from Ingenuity. But the campaign is difficult to tackle for one month as Perseverance will soon have to concentrate on its own job. This study has two key elements — the pursuit of evidence of Mars' existence on the floor of Jezero, the lake and river delta of two thousand years ago, 28 miles (45 km) wide; it collects and caches hundreds of samples.
Those samples will be taken to Earth, perhaps as early as 2031 through a joint NASA/EU space agency initiative. Then researchers around the world can study the unconventional material from Mars in far more detail than Perseverance could ever, even though the rover is capable and complex.
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