NASA will try to fly Ingenuity for the primary time early subsequent month. The company introduced it plans to check fly the 4-pound prototype helicopter no sooner than April eighth. Ingenuity made its strategy to Mars hooked up to the stomach of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which efficiently landed on the floor of the Purple Planet on February 18th.
Perseverance will deploy Ingenuity in a 33-by-33 foot stretch of terrain throughout the Jezero Crater NASA has chosen for its flatness. All the course of will take about six days to finish, with one step of the process involving a pyrotechnic cable-cutting machine. After Perseverance drops off Ingenuity, it would rigorously again away from the helicopter to present its photo voltaic cells the prospect to recharge. As soon as deployed, NASA will try to finish all the check flight course of in about 31 days. “As with every little thing with the helicopter, the sort of deployment has by no means been performed earlier than,” stated Farah Alibay, a techniques engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
If all goes in accordance with plan, Ingenuity’s first check flight will see it hover about 10 ft off the floor of the planet for 30 seconds. To this point, NASA has solely had an opportunity to fly Ingenuity right here again on Earth, the place it has examined it inside vacuum chambers and labs. Flying a car above Mars presents some distinctive challenges. Whereas there’s much less gravity on the planet, the ambiance can be considerably much less dense. However maybe the largest problem going through the robotic is the chilly temperature of Mars. Nighttime temperatures can drop as little as minus 130 levels Fahrenheit. “Mars is tough,” stated MiMi Aung, venture supervisor for Ingenuity at JPL. “Our plan is to work regardless of the Purple Planet throws at us the exact same method we dealt with each problem we’ve confronted over the previous six years – collectively, with tenacity and plenty of onerous work, and a bit Ingenuity.”