On March 21, the persevering Mars-exploring rover left the splinter cover, under which a creative unmanned helicopter (“ingenuity”) was hidden. The drone hanging under the rover’s “belly” is to show scientists whether these devices can be an effective tool in exploring Mars (whose atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s – a bit like above Earth at an altitude of 35 kilometers).
Currently, the rover is on its way to the airport from which the helicopter will take off. The US space agency is planning a test flight on April 8 at the earliest.
“I’m on the road”
Before creativity can rise, it must be exactly in the middle of its airport. This is an area of 10 x 10 meters. A relatively flat area with few rocks has been selected for this site.
“I’m on my way to the airport” – we read the entry in the Twitter “perseverance” file, which shows where the helicopter was launched.
I’m on my way to “the airport” where I am # helicopter Will try its first test flight. A few more drives should get me there.
NASA’s Mars probe (@ NASAPersevere) March 23, 2021
The helicopter deployment will take approximately six days. After the flight control team is convinced from the ground that the helicopter is stationary, creativity will begin to ascend at a speed of one meter per second. It will fly three meters above the surface of the Red Planet for a maximum of 30 seconds.
A few hours after the first flight, the helicopter will send the camera images to the rover. Based on this information, the researchers will determine whether the first test flight was successful. Later they will determine when the next one will come.
The drone has a range of about 50 meters from the launch site and 90 seconds of flight time. It works with a solar panel and weighs 1.8 kg. In approximately 30 days, five reconnaissance test flights are scheduled to take place near the parent vehicle.