The Ingenuity helicopter exceeds all expectations. Every maneuver on Mars is more complicated and dangerous than the last. Because of this, NASA approved the expansion of Ingenuity flights. The drone reacts excellently to every new challenge.
The new phase begins after the helicopter completes the fourth and fifth tests. The decision is the result of the progress in the tasks of the Perseverance Rover. Your first explorations will take place near the landing site. They hope to collect the first rock samples for the main objective of the mission. They are looking for evidence of past life on Mars in the Jezero crater. It’s an ancient delta that is believed to have existed a long time ago, at least microbially.
“With the short trip we have already started our move south. We go to a place that the scientific team believes is worth investigating. It will be our first rehearsal, ”said Ken Farley. He is a project scientist for Caltech’s Perseverance Rover in Pasadena, California.
“We had three goals in the Ingenuity mission. Prove that we can design an airplane and that it will work in terrestrial laboratories, mimicking the conditions on Mars. That we could make it fly over the red planet. And that communication with the Perseverance Rover and then with Earth works well. And we already demonstrated all of this on the third test flight, ”explained Lori Glace. She is the director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. And he described as an “enormous success” all the work that the small helicopter, weighing just 1.8 kilograms, is doing on the surface of Mars.
Ingenuity is a technology demonstration. It will prove that human teams can perform a controlled flight in another world. In-situ testing on Mars has become increasingly complicated. At first it was two meters above the ground; then five. The third test showed that it could move horizontally. The fourth flight took Ingenuity on a 266-meter round trip. The fifth will take place next week. The helicopter will fly farther and faster to its new “airfield” where it will practice more precise maneuvers.
“The perfection of every single Ingenuity flight is surprising,” said Mimi Aung. He is project manager for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at NASA’s JPL. Because of this, NASA approved the expansion of Ingenuity flights. Everything is really great. Ingenuity, however, is not suitable for long-term missions. The tests can take a few months. However, the components are not prepared to last too long on Mars.
Flying in the Red Planet is quite an accomplishment. In addition to the winds, the atmosphere is much thinner than ours (about 1% the density of the Earth’s atmosphere). Its frosty nights can affect aircraft systems.
The new goal is to conduct aerial observations of rover science targets. Also possible routes for endurance and inaccessible roads. The lessons learned from these efforts will be of significant benefit to future mission planners.