Sunday, April 4, 2021

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter set to make history on Mars

CTV News shows that a solar-powered helicopter is about to embark on a historic flight on Mars with a nod to the Wright Brothers.

The Name of the helicopter is Ingenuity. The Main Job is to be a technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover. It landed on Feb. 18, 2021 to Jezero Crater, Mars.

It is sure taking flight on another planet world. Once the Perseverance rover reaches a suitable "helipad" location, it will release Ingenuity to perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window beginning in early April.

For the first flight, the helicopter will take off a few feet from the ground, hover in the air for about 20 to 30 seconds, and land. That will be the first powered flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars. Additional experimental flights will be added of incrementally farther distance and greater altitude. After the helicopter completes its technology demonstration, Perseverance will continue its important scientific mission.

This is the first helicopter ever designed to fly successfully in the thin Martian air. The helicopter demonstrates miniaturized flying technology. Parts are small: onboard computers, electronics and other parts. The helicopter is light enough to take off.

"Ingenuity helicopter" will use solar power to charge its batteries and rely on internal heaters to maintain operational temperatures during the so-called cold Martian nights.

Helicopter Features:

- Weighs 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
- Solar-powered and recharges on its own
- Wireless communication system
- Counter-rotating blades spin about 2,400 rpm
- Equipped with computers, navigation sensors, and 2 cameras (one color and one black-and-white)
- Height: about 19 inches (0.49 meters)
- Rotor system span: about 4 feet (1.2 meters)

Keep in mind, the average gravitational acceleration on Mars is 3.72076 ms−2 (about 38% of that of Earth) and it varies.

The gravity on Mars' surface seems to be much lower than it is here on Earth - 62% lower to be precise. At just 0.376 of the Earth standard (or 0.376 g), a person who weighs 100 kg on Earth would weigh only 38 kg on Mars.

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