Mission controllers at NASA have obtained the first status report from the Ingenuity Helicopter, which was strapped to the underbelly of the Perseverance rover that touched down on Mars earlier this week. According to the company, each the helicopter and its base station are working “as expected”.
If issues go as deliberate, Ingenuity, a 1.8 kilogram rotorcraft, will develop into the first helicopter to fly on one other planet. “There are two big-ticket items we are looking for in the data: the state of charge of Ingenuity’s batteries as well as confirmation the base station is operating as designed, commanding heaters to turn off and on to keep the helicopter’s electronics within an expected range,” stated Tim Canham, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter operations lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“Both appear to be working great. With this positive report, we will move forward with tomorrow’s charge of the helicopter’s batteries.” The helicopter will stay connected to the rover for 30 to 60 days from the time of contact down.
Unlike the Perseverance rover, the Ingenuity Mars helicopter just isn’t carrying any science gear onboard. Instead, its major goal is to test whether or not flight is feasible in Mars’ extraordinarily skinny ambiance. The helicopter was in a position to ship a status replace to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which relays messages between Mars and Earth and has been orbiting the pink planet since 2006.
Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter I carry, is working as anticipated. I’m presently charging it, however as soon as I set it down, it’ll rely solely on its photo voltaic panels. If it survives the brutally chilly Martian nights, the group will try flight. https://t.co/8pksN06ZwP #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/80kEoww0QU
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 20, 2021
“The downlink, which arrived..via a connection through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, indicates that both the helicopter…and its base station…are operating as expected,” NASA stated in a press release.
Presently, the helicopter is receiving recharges from the rover’s energy provide. But as soon as it’s deployed on the floor of the Red Planet, its batteries can be charged solely by its personal photo voltaic panel. If Ingenuity succeeds in hovering throughout its first flight, “over 90% of the project’s goals will have been achieved.”
“If the rotorcraft lands successfully and remains operable, up to four more flights could be attempted, each one building on the success of the last,” NASA stated in a press release.
On Thursday, NASA’s Perseverance rover make a historic touchdown on Mars after seven months in house. The robotic automobile coated over 472 million km earlier than getting into the Martian ambiance at 12,000 miles per hour (19,000 km per hour) to start its strategy to landing on the planet’s floor.
On Friday, NASA launched quite a lot of gorgeous photos of the floor of the Red Planet taken by the Perseverance rover. After it touched down close to an historic river delta within the early hours of Thursday, the rover will now seek for traces of historic life and can collect probably the most very important rock samples for a attainable return to Earth.