The first space helicopter will not fly around Mars yet. The drone was scheduled to make its first short flight over the Red Planet at night from Sunday to Monday (Netherlands time), but has been postponed. A technical problem arose during training. A fresh takeoff attempt will be made next Wednesday at the earliest.
The American Marshelicopter helicopter is called creativity. It was launched in July, as luggage in the Marskarretje Perseverance (Volharding) cargo hold. They landed together on Mars in mid-February. About a week ago, creativity was put to the surface. The dexterity is about three feet tall and weighs about 2 pounds.
In preparation for the first flight, the helicopter’s vanes were rotated on Friday. Something went wrong with the code on the plane. The computer in flight control prowess warned that something was wrong. This is now under investigation. “The helicopter is safe and healthy and has sent all the data back to Earth,” NASA said on Saturday.
The first flight is scheduled for Monday 04:54 AM NST. The intention was for creativity to reach a height of a few meters in three seconds. It would stay there for 30 seconds, before landing in the same place in a controlled manner. That first flight is a test. If successful, the helicopter could fly five times, each time a few hundred meters away. It will likely last about a month on Mars.
One of Ingenuity’s missions is to deal with the low air pressure on Mars. This can be compared to pressing 30 kilometers to the ground. Ground helicopters cannot fly that far. Charging batteries is challenging, too, as Mars gets half of Earth’s solar energy during the day. At night, the parts on the plane are exposed to temperatures of minus 90 degrees.
If the technology works on Mars, helicopters could help explore an exotic destination faster.
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