After a journey of 471 million kilometers, the Ingenuity touched down on Martian soil for the first time, then being dismounted from the belly of the Perseverance. A) Yes, overcame his first night out in the open and, after warming up engines, it will be ready to take its first reconnaissance flight in the next few days.
This tiny 1.8 kilogram vehicle was powered by solar energy through its rechargeable battery to survive the cold nights on Mars. Until now, the system built into the Perseverance rover was the one that kept the vehicle “warm”.
In a statement, Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter project manager, said that nights on Mars they can go down to -90 degrees Celsius, but a heater built into the interior of the vehicle It is the one that protected him from the Martian night.
This “historic” controlled test flight of Ingenuity in the Martian atmosphere was scheduled for April 8, but NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, delayed the date to check the resistance of the equipment.
Perseverance deposited Ingenuity on the soil of Mars and is moving slowly away. NASA / JPL-Caltech
NASA also explained that Ingenuity needs a Martian day (24 hours and 40 minutes) to spread its ‘wings’ and be prepared. to carry out your first mission.
Also, the next two days, the drone will be paralyzed on the regolith to verify that the solar panels work as intended, to begin testing the engines and sensors before the first flight, which should not take place before April 11.
The US special agency has indicated that the shipment of Ingenuity to Mars aims to test how these small helicopters behave in the air of that planet, thinner than that of Earth. because its gravity is one third of ours, with a view to deciding how to use them in future space exploration.
On Mars, Ingenuity has a weight close to 680 grams – which on Earth would be 1.8 kilos – and a height of 49 centimeters. It is powered by six lithium-ion batteries that are recharged by a solar array installed on top of the rotor..
Also It has two cameras: one in black and white for navigation and the other in color, oriented towards the terrain. Equipped with two 120-centimeter diameter propellers, the drone does not exceed 20 centimeters in length.
The drone will provide a new perspective on the geology of the red planet If it manages to rise, its first flight will be used for route recognition and to photograph the rover itself. Your first ride will last about 30 seconds.
The drone is lowered from the belly of the rover to begin its experience. NASA / JPL-CALTECH
Ingenuity, controlled remotely, will reach up to 3 meters – although it can reach 5 meters – in height and later, land on the surface of the red planet.
Ingenuity’s adventure on Martian soil cIt began on March 21 when Perseverance deployed a protective shield so that the helicopter can withstand the dangerous descent on the rocky surface.
“The project is only a technology demonstration, it is not designed to support the Mars 2020 / Perseverance mission, which aims to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples of rocks and sediments,” said the space agency.