Ideally, he was to make “up to” five flights in a Martian atmosphere. Tens of millions of kilometers from Earth, in an atmosphere of different composition and pressure and in a third of gravity. All this due to signal delay completely automatically.
The Ingenuity helicopter flew to Mars with the Perseverance rover in mid-February last year. At the beginning of April, he was landed from the rover’s belly and made his first flight two weeks later.
NASA recently announced that Ingenuity is in excellent condition, shows no signs of wear and continues to work.
The goal of the first helicopter off planet Earth was simply to try. Test whether it is possible to fly in the atmosphere of the red planet and gain experience for potential successors.
But from mere experimental flights, Ingenuity had long since returned to normal work. He is not directly involved in Mars research because he has no scientific instruments on board, but his cameras help plan the rover’s route. The information provided by the Ingenuity has brought Perseverance some modest time savings. NASA estimates that at “a few sols” (days on Mars).
Ingenuity currently has an account already 22 flightsin which he flew 4.75 km. He spent the summer in a Martian atmosphere 40 minutes and 31 seconds.
The last flight took place on March 20. The helicopter’s rotors are spinning again this weekend.
The surface of Mars from an Ingenuity helicopter. From left: flights 5, 6 and 10. Altitude always about 10 meters. Photo: NASA
The small 1.8 kg helicopter is powered by a pair of counter-rotating rotors – each weighing only 35 grams and 1.2 meters in diameter. Both rotors reach 2,800 rpm.
Ingenuity Helicopter Records
The flight number is given in parentheses.
- Maximum distance: 631.79 meters (9th)
- Maximum speed: 5 m / s (9th)
- Maximum height: 12 meters (10th)
- Maximum flight time: 169.5 seconds (12th)