NASA hopes to make history early on Monday, when the Ingenuity Mars helicopter will attempt its first power-controlled flight on another planet.
The space agency originally planned to fly on April 11, but the flight was postponed because a software problem was discovered during the high-speed test of the aircraft rotor.
This problem has been resolved, and a four-pound (1.8kg) drone can achieve feats at around 3:30 am Eastern Time (1 pm U.S. Standard Time).
However, the data will not arrive until a few hours later, and NASA will start the live broadcast at 6:15 am Eastern Time (3:45 pm Central Standard Time).
Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung said: “There is only one first flight in each world.”
In 1903, the Wright brothers achieved the first powered flight on Earth in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. To commemorate this feat, a piece of fabric on the plane was stuffed into Ingenuity.
The helicopter went straight to Mars under the Mars “Perseverance”, which landed on Earth on February 18 and performed a mission to find signs of alien life.
In contrast, the goal of intellect is to showcase its technical works, and will not help persevering scientific goals.
But we hope that Ingenuity can pave the way for future aviators who will completely change our exploration of celestial bodies because they can reach immovable areas and fly faster.
Consider the weather on Mars to choose the flight time of the helicopter. Wind is the biggest unknown, which may harm the mission.
Flying is challenging because the air on Mars is so thin-less than one percent of the pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Even if it is assisted by one-third of the earth’s gravity, it is difficult to achieve lift.
High resolution video
The helicopter will rise for about six seconds, hover and rotate for about 30 seconds, and then fall back.
Since it takes 15 minutes for the signal to travel from Earth to Mars, the flight will be automatic and pre-programmed onto the aircraft.
The originality itself will analyze its position relative to the surface of Mars.
After the flight, Ingenuity will send it persistent technical data and send its information back to Earth.
This will include black and white photos of the surface of Mars, which Ingenuity is programmed to capture while flying.
Later, once the battery is fully charged again, Ingenuity will transmit another color photo of the Martian horizon taken with another camera.
But the most spectacular image should come from the perseverance of the rover, it will shoot flying at a distance of several meters.
Soon after filming, six videos of 2.5 seconds each will be sent to Earth. NASA hopes that at least one of them can display the flight status of the helicopter.
The entire video will be sent in the next few days.
Elsa Jensen, who is responsible for monitoring the rover cameras, said: “There will be surprises, and you will learn about them at the same time as us. So let us all eat popcorn.”
Aung said that there may be four outcomes: complete success, partial success, insufficient data or no data to return or failure.
If the flight is successful, NASA plans to conduct another flight in no more than four days. In a month’s time, it plans a total of up to five, each with increasing difficulty.
NASA hopes to raise the helicopter by 5 meters (16 feet) and then move it laterally.
Unger said that every creativity “will depend on how long it takes to land”, which means whether it will crash.
She said: “Once we reach the fourth and fifth flights, we will be very happy.” “We will fly very boldly and take high risks.”
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