If successful, these will be the first controlled flights ever to another planet. Ingenuity is just a technological demonstration, but it could kick off a new approach to exploring other planets. “In the future, he could transform the way we do planetary science, and possibly be a scout so that we can figure out where, exactly, we need to send our robots,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained during a press briefing on Monday. This is how the Ingenuity helicopter works:

The first drone images of Mars

Even for a 1.5kg machine like Ingenuity, the thin Martian atmosphere makes flight difficult. Air has only 1% of the density of the Earth’s atmosphere. “The first and biggest challenge is to make a vehicle that is light enough to fly,” says MiMi Aung, who leads the helicopter project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a video about the spacecraft. . “The second is to generate lift”.

To catch enough air, the helicopter’s four carbon-fiber blades must rotate in reverse at about 2,400 rpm, about eight times faster than a passenger-carrying helicopter on Earth. To power all this rotation, solar panels placed on top of the spacecraft absorb energy from the sun. “It’s the balance of a very light system, which must have enough energy to turn the rotors very quickly to lift it. And in addition it must be autonomous,” continues MiMi Aung.

Since communication with spacecraft on Mars takes a few minutes, ground controllers on Earth cannot pilot Ingenuity in real time. Engineers have therefore already designed and scheduled five flights, which the helicopter will perform autonomously in spring 2021.

The first flight will only test that the helicopter can take off from the ground

Click here to see more” data-reactid=”25″>(…) Click here to see more

The CSA asks social networks for more transparency in their fight against fake news
TGV passengers are mostly young, well-off executives
Here are the next Normal stores that will open and what you can find there
Pfizer boss wants to profit from the sale of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States
Alphabet beat Wall Street expectations but posts first drop in revenue
” data-reactid=”26″>The CSA asks social networks for more transparency in their fight against fake news
TGV passengers are mostly young, well-off executives
Here are the next Normal stores that will open and what you can find there
Pfizer boss wants to profit from the sale of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States
Alphabet beat Wall Street expectations but posts first drop in revenue