Ingenuity helicopter phones home from Mars-
The Ingenuity helicopter, sidekick, and traveling companion of NASA’s Perseverance rover have checked in with an honest report and are “operating needlessly to say,” consistent with the agency.
The rover landed safely on the surface of Mars Thursday after launching from Earth on July 30. Perseverance has already sent back a powerful set of images to point out that she’s safe and prepared to travel through a “checkout” phase before starting her journey across the surface. Now, the mission team has heard directly from the helicopter for the primary time — and it’s excellent news.
Ingenuity is currently tucked up beneath the rover and attached to Perseverance’s belly. The rover is about the dimensions of an SUV, while the helicopter only weighs about 4 pounds helicopter was ready to phone home via the rover by sending data back through NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which acts as a communications relay between Mars and Earth and has been orbiting the Mars since 2006.
Ingenuity is comfortable where it’s and is not letting go of the rover anytime soon for a test flight. The helicopter will persist snug with the rover for 30 to 60 days.
“Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter I carry, is functioning needless to say. I’m currently charging it, but once I set it down, it’ll rely solely on its solar panels. If it survives the brutally cold Martian nights, the team will attempt flight,” read a tweet from the Perseverance Twitter account.
Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter I carry, is working as expected. I’m currently charging it, but once I set it down, it’ll rely solely on its solar panels. If it survives the brutally cold Martian nights, the team will attempt flight. https://t.co/8pksN06ZwP #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/80kEoww0QU
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 20, 2021
Ingenuity helicopter phones home from Mars
“There are two big-ticket items we are trying to find within the data: the state of charge of Ingenuity’s batteries also as confirmation the bottom station is working as designed, commanding heaters to show off and on to stay the helicopter’s electronics within an expected range,” said Tim Canham, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter operations lead at NASA’s reaction propulsion Laboratory, during a statement.
“Both appear to be working great. With this positive report, we’ll move forward with (Saturday’s) charge of the helicopter’s batteries.”
Ingenuity must power up and store energy so it can keep itself warm and maintain other vital functions during the cold Martian nights once the rover deposits the helicopter on the red planet’s surface. Then, Ingenuity is going to be on its own.
And it’ll be got to withstand nights where temperatures can drop as low as negative 130 degrees Fahrenheit. As Elton John famously sings in “Rocket Man,” Mars is, indeed, as cold as hell.
Maintaining function and good battery health is going to be critical if the helicopter is to survive the frigid Martian climate before attempting any test flights afterward. a complete of 5 test flights are planned over a 31-day period once the rover finds the proper “helipad,” or nice flat spot, to deposit Ingenuity.
As long as Ingenuity is attached to Perseverance, the helicopter can give its batteries a lift. The helicopter has six lithium-ion batteries. Once it’s detached from the rover, those batteries are going to be charged by the helicopter’s solar panels first flight of Ingenuity is going to be short, only about 20 seconds of hovering off the bottom.
But it’ll be a historic moment. very similar to the very first Martian rover, Sojourner, Ingenuity may be a technology demonstration — an experiment. Proving that this idea can work could lead to the event of rotorcraft that would act as scouts for both rovers and human missions to Mars within the future.
If that first flight is successful, “over 90% of the project’s goals will are achieved,” consistent with NASASubsequent flights could last longer and test out more of the helicopter’s capabilities. It carries two cameras which will provide aerial images. Perseverance also will train its cameras on Ingenuity to capture the sights and sounds, including video, of those historic flights.
“We are in uncharted territory, but this team is employed thereto,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL, during a statement. “Just about every milestone from here through the top of our flight demonstration program are going to be a primary, and everyone has got to succeed for us to travel on to subsequent. We’ll enjoy this excellent news for the instant, on the other hand, we’ve to urge back to figure .”