NASA’s Mars helicopter soars greater, longer on 2nd flight

 Mars helicopter Ingenuity

2021-04-23 00:10:14

 Mars helicopter Ingenuity
The shadow of NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity is seen throughout its second flight, captured by its black-and-white navigation digital camera April 22, 2021.
Picture Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/by way of REUTERS

Cape Canaveral, Florida: NASA’s little Mars helicopter aced its second take a look at flight Thursday, hovering even greater and longer than earlier than.

The 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) chopper, named Ingenuity, hovered longer and likewise flew facet to facet this time, in accordance with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. It achieved the meant altitude of 16 ft (5 meters) and even accelerated sideways 7 ft (2 meters).

This hop lasted 52 seconds, 13 seconds longer than the primary one.

“Go massive or go residence!” JPL tweeted in saying the Earth Day information.

The success got here simply three days after Ingenuity made the primary powered flight by an plane on one other planet. The helicopter carried a little bit of wing material from the Wright Flyer that made related historical past at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903.

Flight controllers needed to wait 4 hours earlier than studying Thursday’s consequence. Prefer it did throughout Monday’s 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) hop, the helicopter despatched again a black and white photograph exhibiting its shadow in opposition to the dusty, rock-strewn floor now often known as Wright Brothers Subject.

“It sounds easy, however there are a lot of unknowns relating to tips on how to fly a helicopter on Mars,” Ingenuity’s chief pilot, Havard Grip, stated from JPL in a press release. “That is why we’re right here – to make these unknowns identified.”

One of many challenges is the planet’s extraordinarily skinny ambiance – 1% that of Earth’s.

NASA plans as much as three extra take a look at flights within the subsequent 1 1/2 weeks, venturing greater every time with extra difficult acrobatics. Ingenuity hitched a journey to Mars on the rover Perseverance, which photographed the proceedings from greater than 200 ft (64 meters) away. The rover group allotted one month for the $85 million tech demo” The clock began ticking when Ingenuity was launched from Perseverance’s stomach on April 3.

“We’ve got two flights of Mars underneath our belts, which implies that there’s nonetheless so much to study throughout this month of Ingenuity,” chief engineer Bob Balaram stated in a press release.

Perseverance and Ingenuity arrived at Mars in mid-February, touchdown in an historic river delta following a 6 1/2-month flight.

As soon as Ingenuity’s flights are full, Perseverance will set off on its journey to seek out any indicators of previous microscopic life. A robotic geologist, the rover will acquire core samples of essentially the most attractive rocks and set them apart for pickup by a future spacecraft a decade from now.

In one other first, an experiment on the rover efficiently transformed Mars’ carbon-dioxide-rich ambiance into pure oxygen this week. 5 grams of oxygen was produced, in accordance with NASA, the equal of 10 minutes of respiratory for an astronaut. Giant-scale manufacturing at Mars may yield oxygen not just for air, but in addition rocket gasoline. Extra checks are deliberate over the subsequent two years.

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