NASA helicopter positioned on Mars might make its first flight over the Red Planet inside two days after a profitable preliminary check of its rotors, the US area company mentioned Friday. The present plan for the first-ever try at powered, managed flight on one other planet is for the four-pound (1.8kg) helicopter, dubbed the Ingenuity, to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater on Sunday at 10:54pm US Eastern Time (8:24 am IST) and hover 10 ft (three metres) above the floor for a half-minute, NASA mentioned.
“The helicopter is good, it’s looking healthy,” mentioned Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead, in a press convention. “Last night, we did our 50 RPM spin, where we spun the blades very slowly and carefully,” he mentioned.
The plan for Sunday is to have it rise, flying solely vertically, hover, and rotate for 30 seconds to take an image of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on Mars on February 18 with the helicopter connected to its underside.
Then the Ingenuity will probably be lowered again down onto the floor.
The flight will probably be autonomous, pre-programmed into the plane due to the 15 minutes it takes for indicators to journey from Earth to Mars, and in addition because of the demanding surroundings of the distant planet.
“Mars is tough not solely if you land, however if you attempt to take off from it and fly round, too,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager.
She explained that the planet has significantly less gravity than Earth, but less than one percent the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere at the surface.
The makes it necessary for the Ingenuity to be able to spin its rotor blades much faster than a helicopter on Earth in order to fly.
“Put these issues collectively, and you’ve got a automobile that calls for each enter be proper,” said Aung.
NASA captured the test of the rotors in a short video shot from the rover just a few meters away, showing what looks like a small drone.
Aung said a second test would be conducted today, with the rotors running at high speed.
“The solely uncertainty stays the precise surroundings of Mars,” she said, mentioning possible winds.
NASA calls the unprecedented helicopter operation highly risky but says it could reap invaluable data about the conditions on Mars.
NASA plans up to five flights, each successively more difficult, in a period of a month.
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