Planetary world about the Mars helicopter: ‘very special’

The Mars Ingenuity helicopter made its first successful flight. Thus the unmanned aircraft makes history by being the first helicopter to make a flight over another planet. Planetary scientist Daphne Stamm of TU Delft contributes News & Associates Explains why the seemingly humble journey is such a great achievement.

“Flying on Mars is very difficult,” says Stam. “There is almost no air on this planet and a helicopter needs air to fly.”

Hot air balloon is more practical

Wouldn’t working with a balloon be more convenient? One of Stam’s students thought so. “He wanted to build something that could take materials for future astronauts.” Creativity cannot do that. You cannot make a helicopter that carries building materials with you because it does not have enough air pressure for it. Then you’d better have a “hot air balloon.” Her student’s idea isn’t entirely new. “Balloons have already flown on Venus,” the scientist said.

Creativity is lagging behind

What is the chopper planning? “Next week they’re going to go in circles and try all kinds of technical things.” “At a certain point they stopped the helicopter and then it stopped there.” And because the robber who needed the helicopter to program the flight could not wait, he had to conduct further investigations.

Astronauts may take some time to find the helicopter. Stam: “It might only take twenty years.” Until then, creativity will be down to earth.

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