NASA’s Mars helicopter successfully takes its first flight on the planet

mars helicopter

NASA today tested their experimental Mars Helicopter which took its first test flight from the sandy surface of Mars. Named Ingenuity the helicopter took a vertical flight lifting off the surface as it was recorded by the Perseverance Rover at a distance of 65 meters.

The whole observation room triumphed the first flight on Mars and hailed it as their own Wright Brothers moment.

We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet.

Project Manager MiMi Aung

Ingenuity reached on Mars along with Perseverance rover, clinging to the rover’s belly upon their arrival in the ancient river delta in February.

The cost of manufacture for Ingenuity was $85 million and it was always a risky demo but the rewards were high. Earlier a software error had the team wait for another week before engineers could fix and come up with a solution.

One of the major problems for the helicopter was that it was going to fly in a less thick atmosphere on Mars and the rotors of the helicopter had to spin 5 times faster than it would on Earth (2,500 revolutions per minute).

Engineers had to build an aircraft that was light enough to fly in that sort of atmosphere and would have blades spinning extremely fast.

Ingenuity took 6 years to make and stands at 0.5 m tall in a form of a four-legged chopper. It is equipped with rechargeable batteries as it includes a solar panel on the top surface.

The chopper needs to complete five helicopter flights, each one more ambitious. This would pave way for a number of Martian drones that could be sent to Mars to provide aerial views, transporting packages and serving as scouts for astronauts.

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