#astronomy Ingenuity Mars Heliscopter: First Flight on Mars – Sky & Telescope

April 20, 2021 - Comment

Ingenuity images its shadow, throughout its first transient powered flight on Mars. NASA / JPL-Caltech It could have been a brief flight, however NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter carried out a historic first early Monday morning, briefly taking to alien skies. The flight occurred at three:34 a.m. Japanese Daylight Time (7:34 Common Time), and phrase of


Ingenuity's shadow while in flightIngenuity images its shadow, throughout its first transient powered flight on Mars.
NASA / JPL-Caltech

It could have been a brief flight, however NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter carried out a historic first early Monday morning, briefly taking to alien skies.

The flight occurred at three:34 a.m. Japanese Daylight Time (7:34 Common Time), and phrase of the flight reached Earth through the worldwide Deep Area Community at 6:46 a.m. EDT / 10:46 UT.

Mission control for IngenuityMission controllers cheer through the arrival of post-flight indicators from Ingenuity.
NASA TV

“Ingenuity is the newest in an extended and storied custom of NASA initiatives attaining an area exploration purpose as soon as thought unattainable,” stated appearing NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk in a latest press launch. “We do not know precisely the place Ingenuity will lead us, however in the present day’s outcomes point out the sky — no less than on Mars — will not be the restrict.”

The flight lasted simply 39.1 seconds, because the solar-powered helicopter spun up its two four-foot-wide rotor blades, stacked in counter-rotating pairs, to greater than 2,500 rpm. Ingenuity reached a peak of three meters (10 ft) in a short hover earlier than safely touchdown again on the Martian floor. The first digital camera snapped a number of photos through the hop, whereas the Perseverance rover documented the flight with its fundamental Mastcam-Z and Navcam imagers from 64.three meters (211 ft) away.

At the moment I witnessed historical past. Now you’ll be able to too. You’re watching video of the #MarsHelicopter’s first flight – a real “Wright brothers” second.

Watch all of it unfold:
✅ Spin-up
✅ Takeoff
✅ Hover
✅ Flip
✅ Touchdown

Learn extra: https://t.co/FIsf5RfHGj pic.twitter.com/hucsBY2RDE

— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 19, 2021

Perseverance dropped off Ingenuity on April third, then backed away to the Jakob van Zyl overlook web site to present Ingenuity a transparent airspace to hold out its first operations. The complete flight was autonomous, as Mars is presently 173 million miles (over 15 light-minutes) away.

Perseverance selfie with IngenuityPerseverance snaps a selfie together with Ingenuity on April sixth.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Ingenuity was initially scheduled to fly on Wednesday, April 14th, however the helicopter’s “watchdog timer” shut down early throughout a high-speed spin-up check the weekend prior. Engineers re-assessed and uploaded new instructions to the helicopter this previous weekend. A profitable spin-up check previous to in the present day’s flight was accomplished on April 17th.

The “airfield” that Ingenuity sortied from was named Wright Brothers Discipline in the present day, in honor of the primary powered flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. (That historic occasion was additionally transient, lasting solely 12 seconds.) Ingenuity carries a postage stamp-sized swatch of the unique Wright Brothers flyer to commemorate the event. Wright Brothers Discipline even obtained the Worldwide Civil Aviation Group (ICAO) airport code “JZRO” for in the present day’s flight, with Ingenuity receiving the flight name signal “IGY-1.”

Ingenuity noticed its personal shadow through the transient flight, as Perseverance captured a collection of photos which had been posted by NASA on the rover’s Twitter feed early on Monday.

“We have now been pondering for therefore lengthy about having our ‘Wright brothers second’ on Mars, and right here it’s,” stated challenge supervisor MiMi Aung (NASA-JPL) in a latest press launch. “We’ll take a second to have fun our success, after which take a cue from Orville and Wilbur relating to what to do subsequent. Historical past exhibits they received again to work to study as a lot as they may about their new plane — and so will we.”

Ingenuity was designed by NASA/JPL, and price $85 million from design by way of operation. The mission is a difficult one, because the Martian environment is only one% that of Earth’s at sea degree. Standing simply 19.three inches (49 centimeters) excessive and with a mass of 1.eight kilograms, a lot of the miniaturized tech aboard Ingenuity owes its existence to trendy smartphone know-how. Although Ingenuity carries no science devices, it does have a laser altimeter and two cameras onboard. The principle 13-megapixel colour digital camera faces the horizon to picture the terrain, and one zero.5-megapixel black and white digital camera faces downward for navigation.

Although it represents a proof of idea, powered flight is anticipated to develop into normal throughout future missions. A flying mission can scout the terrain forward or attain areas inaccessible through wheels on the bottom. NASA’s subsequent interplanetary rotorcraft, the nuclear-powered Dragonfly mission, is scheduled to move to Saturn’s largest moon Titan round 2027.

The Ingenuity crew has two weeks left in its 30-day window for operations, throughout which the helicopter might full as much as 4 extra flights. Look ahead to the subsequent one to happen not sooner than April 22nd. Flight 2 will see Ingenuity reaching an altitude of 5 meters, then flying laterally for two meters. On Flight three, Ingenuity will fly to an altitude of 5 meters earlier than making an attempt a 50-meter out and again horizontal flight.

Ingenuity sticks the landingIngenuity as seen from Perseverance, shortly after its first flight.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

After that, Perseverance will transfer on with its packed major science mission. After April, Ingenuity will come to relaxation one final time on the floor of Mars in Jezero Crater, a small testomony to the primary flight on the Pink Planet.

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