Ingenuity, the helicopter that accompanies Perseverence | Digital Trends Spanish
Several milestones make Perseverance a historic mission. Yesterday, the rover landed successfully on the surface of Mars, after seven months of travel.
One of the most striking elements is that the vehicle, somehow, did not travel alone. For the first time NASA sent a helicopter to the red planet.
It is Ingenuity, a very light flying machine of just 1.8 kilograms and just over 48 centimeters high. It is part of a flight experiment on Mars, and would not necessarily be related to the Perseverance mission on the planet (look for signs of life).
“The Wright brothers demonstrated that powered flight in Earth’s atmosphere was possible, using an experimental aircraft,” said Håvard Grip, chief pilot for Ingenuity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in a statement.
“With Ingenuity, we are trying to do the same for Mars.”
How does it work?
According to NASA, the small aircraft has four specially built carbon fiber blades, which are arranged on two rotors that rotate in opposite directions at about 2,400 rpm (revolutions per minute), which is much faster than a helicopter. normal.
The NASA helicopter will attempt a series of ninety-second flights. It will not be easy, because conditions on Mars are difficult to overcome.
At the same time, the landing site is cold with temperatures dropping to minus 90 degrees Celsius.
Because command commands take a long time, the helicopter will operate most of the time in automatic mode.
While the ground crew will send the commands in advance of flights, the vehicle has been designed to make its own decisions about flying and staying operational.
The Ingenuity features an automatic solar charging design and will make four more flight attempts if the first one is unsuccessful.
It will also take some pictures during the flight.
“Ingenuity aims to demonstrate the technologies necessary to fly in the Martian atmosphere. If successful, these technologies could enable other advanced robotic flying vehicles that could be included in future robotic and human missions to Mars, ”NASA noted.