After proving the possibility of a controlled flight, powered by the Red Planet, NASA’s Mars Intelligence Helicopter has new orders: a scout rather than a rover of diligence to help search for past signs of microbial life.
The next phase expands Rotocraft’s work beyond the original monthly technical demonstration. Now, the goal is to evaluate how well flyers can help explore Mars and other worlds.
“We are going to gather information about the operational support capability of the helicopter, while diligence will focus on its scientific work,” Lori Clas, director of NASA’s planetary science division, told reporters Friday.
The ingenious type of performance can be useful for one-day human travel, by finding the best routes for explorers to travel, or by reaching otherwise otherwise impossible places.
The four-pound (1.8kg) mini chopper successfully performed on a quarter of its originally scheduled five flights on Friday, NASA tweeted, “going faster and faster than ever.” The fifth is scheduled for the coming days, after which its work will initially be extended to a Tuesday.
Whether it continues beyond that depends on whether it is still in good condition and instead of being an obstacle, the rover ‘s goals are to collect soil and rock samples for future laboratory analysis on Earth.
Chief engineer Bob Balaram predicts that it will be a factor controlling the ability to withstand Tuesday nights, with temperatures dropping to -130 degrees Fahrenheit (-90 degrees Celsius).
Ingenious is hot with a solar-powered heater, but it is designed to last only a month and engineers are not sure “how many freezes and shore cycles [it] Something can go wrong before it breaks, ”he said.
NASA initially thought that diligence would take place on February 18, just north of the planet’s equator, from where it landed in the Xero gorge. This means that the rover will leave the ingenuity and move beyond the communication range.
Even now, the company wants to persevere in that area after discovering a rocky area where they believe the trench contains some of the oldest in the ground. They hope to collect their first sample in July.
Ingenuity has captured the public’s imagination since launching the first spacecraft on April 19, but NASA said it was not a factor in the decision to allow the two robots to explore Mars together.
“We like to spend considerable time where we are, so this is a lucky renovation,” said diligent project scientist Ken Barley.