An unmanned Ingenuity helicopter made its first flight to Mars. A live recording is available on NASA’s YouTube channel.
The flight took place in the early morning hours, with the broadcast beginning at 6:15 a.m. Eastern North American time. According to the schedule, the flight took about 40 seconds. The NASA command center later received telemetry data and a picture from the Perseverance rover. The national space agency’s official Twitter account applauded the successful completion of the test flight.
Ingenuity’s first flight was preceded by modeling and planning work by NASA engineers. The Red Planet’s atmosphere is more rarefied than Earth’s, requiring the helicopter’s motor to exert more force to lift into the air. It is noted that the blades of the drone move at a speed of 2500 revolutions per minute, while for a helicopter on Earth enough 400-500 revolutions.
Ingenuity is equipped with a more powerful processor than Perseverance, which receives commands from the Earth and processes data obtained from cameras. Thanks to the helicopter, experts can study the mountain hills and valleys, which, for obvious reasons, can not reach the rover.
NASA representatives announced on April 7 that the helicopter test flight on Mars will not be held before April 11, then the dates were shifted by a week. The Martian helicopter weighing 1.8 kilograms was originally inside the Perseverance rover but then separated from the rover.