Mars helicopter flight test promises NASA Wright Brothers moment

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LOS ANGELES – NASA believes Monday marks the 21st century Wright Brothers moment, when it attempts to send a miniature helicopter to the surface of Mars, which will be the first running, controlled flight of one aircraft to another.

Major achievements in science and technology may appear humbled by regular measurements. In 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers’ first controlled aircraft flew at 120 feet (37 meters) in 12 seconds in the world of motorized aircraft.

There is also a casual introduction to NASA’s dual-rotor, solar-powered helicopter ingenuity.

If all goes according to plan, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) Verlici will slowly ascend 10 feet (3 meters) straight from the surface of Mars, circle for 30 seconds, and then slowly descend on all fours before landing.

Although the measurements may seem less than ambitious, the “sky field” for the planetary test flight 173 million miles from Earth is on the ground of the vast Martian plateau Jessero Greater. Ingenuity sets in successfully implementing pre-planned flight instructions using an autonomous pilot and navigation system.


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At a recent conference at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JBL) near Los Angeles, “the moment our team is waiting for is almost here,” said Mimi Ang, Ingen Project Manager.

NASA compares the experiment to the Wright Brothers record of 117 years ago, paying homage to that mild but monumental first aircraft, which fitted a small wing cloth from the original Wright Flyer under the ingenious solar panel.

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The robotic rocketcraft was carried to the red planet built in the belly of NASA’s mobile rover Perseverance’s mobile spacecraft, which touched down on February 18 after a seven – month space flight in the Xerox Greater.

Although the ingenious flight test is scheduled to begin at 3:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday (0730 GMT Monday), information confirming its results is not expected to reach JPL’s control of ET by 6:15 a.m. Monday.

NASA expects images and video of the aircraft, which mission engineers hope to capture using cameras mounted on the helicopter and Perseverance Rover, which will be parked at a distance of 250 feet (76 meters) from the ingenious airspace.

If the test is successful, the ingenuity will make several extra, longer flights in extra weeks, although it will have to rest for four to five days between each to recharge its batteries. Opportunities for future flights often depend on safe, four-point touchdowns for the first time.

“It’s not a self-help organization, so if we have a bad landing, it will be the end of the mission,” Ang said. Unexpectedly strong air pressure is a potential risk of damage to the aircraft.


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NASA hopes to demonstrate a separate technology from the primary mission of diligence to search for traces of ancient microbes – aerial surveillance of Mars and other parts of the solar system, such as Venus or Saturn’s moon Titan.

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Although Mars has a much lower gravitational pull than Earth, its atmosphere is just 1% denser, which poses a special challenge to aerodynamic lift. To compensate, engineers are ingenious with rotor blades (4 feet long) and rotate faster than an aircraft of its size would require on earth.

This design has been successfully tested in vacuum chambers built in JBL to simulate Martian conditions, but it remains to be seen whether ingenuity will fly over the red planet.

The small, light aircraft has already passed an initial critical test, which has proven that it can withstand cold spells, lowering the night temperature to zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius), recharging only solar energy and keeping the internal components properly warm.

The scheduled flight on April 9 during the test cycle of the aircraft’s rotors was delayed by a week due to a technical glitch. NASA said the problem was then resolved.


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Sophia Harrison

Part time worker

I'm Sophia Harrison working as a part-time staff at the Costco since the past year until I become as an author at the iron blade, hope I can use my experiences with the supermarkets here.

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