The Perseverance rover mission on Mars continues to deliver promising news. This weekend NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced that the small Ingenuity helicopter was deposited on the surface of Mars successfully.
The helicopter fell from the “gut” of Perseverance with success and now preparing for a first autonomous flight that if it is successful it will become another milestone in a mission that is leaving us with fantastic images.
The flight, possibly April 11
We will still have to wait a few days to see if the Ingenuity helicopter manages to make that first successful flight. From NASA it is indicated that that attempt will not occur before April 11, and the data would arrive the next day on Earth.
The Ingenuity was feeding from the Perseverance rover, but from the moment it is deployed already depends on itself and its own battery. One of the first challenges of the helicopter is in fact to “survive the night” of Mars and to be able to continue operating when needed.
As NASA engineers explained, this task is already remarkable, because on Mars the temperature can drop to 90 ° C overnight.
#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/XaBiSNebua
– NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 4, 2021
The Ingenuity is equipped with a heater which theoretically allows it to withstand those temperatures, but in the next few days we will know if this surprising little vehicle fulfills the objective of the mission and is capable of making small flights autonomously.
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