NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter will attempt its “Wright Brothers Moment” on Mars in just two days, the American space agency proudly announced on Friday.
The four-pound rotocraft is expected to take off from Jezero Crater on Sunday, April 11th at 12:30 p.m. local solar time on Mars, which is on Earth at 10:54 p.m. CET.
“Every world only gets one first flight,” said MiMi Aung, NASA’s Ingenuity project manager.
“The Wright brothers have made the first flight on Earth, and Ingenuity is ready to be the first on Mars.”
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NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter will attempt its “Wright Brothers Moment” on Mars in just two days, the US space agency proudly announced on Friday. The image was captured by the Perseverance rover, which is delegating tasks to the helicopter sent to Mars by NASA
Ingenuity has demonstrated the ability to generate enough electricity yourself. At 10:53 p.m. Mars time, the helicopter will give its blades one final spin and then take off to make history.
Mission control specialists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California expect to receive the first data from the first attempt at flight the next morning at around 4:15 a.m. ET, but are scheduled to begin a briefing at 3:30 a.m. ET.
“From day one on this project, our team faced a variety of seemingly insurmountable technical challenges,” said Aung.
“And here we are – safely on Mars – on the eve of our first flight attempt. We have come this far with an attitude that can never be said, many friends from many different technical disciplines and an agency that likes to turn far-flung ideas into reality. ‘
“Every world only gets one first flight,” said MiMi Aung, NASA’s Ingenuity project manager. “The Wright brothers have made the first flight on Earth, and Ingenuity is ready to be the first on Mars.” Orville Wright is pictured during its first flight on earth in 1903
The four-pound rotocraft is expected to take off from Jezero Crater on Sunday, April 11th at 12:30 p.m. local solar time on Mars, which is on Earth at 10:54 p.m. CET. Ingenuity will fly 10 feet in the air, hover, and then land – all in just 90 seconds
Sunday will be Ingenuity’s time to shine as the flight will be autonomous and controlled by the helicopter’s own guidance, navigation and control systems.
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter prepares for the Wright brothers’ moment
NASA is supposed to fly where no one has flown – in the Martian atmosphere.
Named Ingenuity, the vehicle flies at an altitude similar to 100,000 feet on Earth, allowing it to collect geological data in areas the rover cannot reach.
NASA compares this mission to “the Wright Brothers’ moment” as it will be the first time in history that an aircraft has flown to another world.
It will initially take up to 60 days for the Perseverance rover to be buckled up before it is released.
If it survives the hard Martian night at -90 ° C, NASA will make the first attempt at flight within 30 days.
“Since the Wright brothers first ascended to the skies of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on December 17, 1903, maiden flights have been important milestones in the life of any air-travel vehicle,” a NASA statement said
This is also a result of the time it takes radio signals to travel 173 million miles between Mars and Earth, which is the equivalent of 15 minutes and 27 seconds.
It is also so because almost everything on the Red Planet is demanding.
And while Ingenuity is no longer tied to stamina, the rover is ready to begin the mission.
NASA’s Mars rover serves Ingenuity as a communications base station to receive Sunday’s instructions from Earth, which at JPL are transmitted via NASA’s Deep Space Network and send the tasks on Perseverance to a receiving antenna.
And then the main event begins at 10:35 p.m. ET.
Ingenuity will trigger the blades for wobble tests. When the algorithms that run the guidance, navigation, and control systems find the test results acceptable, they turn on the inertia measurement unit (an electronic device that measures the heading and rotation of a vehicle) and an inclinometer (that measures inclines).
If everything is checked, the helicopter readjusts the pitch of its rotor blades and configures them so that they do not generate any lift during the early part of the start-up.
It takes about 12 seconds for the blades to rise from 0 to 2537 rpm – the optimal speed for the first flight.
After a final system check, an order is given to change the pitch of the rotor blades again.
This time, they can dig into the few molecules of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon that are available in the atmosphere near the surface of Mars.
And moments later, the first experimental flight test begins on another planet.
Ingenuity has demonstrated the ability to generate enough electricity on your own. At 10:53 p.m. Mars time, the helicopter will give its blades one final spin and then take off to make history
The picture shows the first color image that Ingenuity took on Mars
JPL’s Håvard Grip, Ingenuity’s flight controller, said, “It should take about six seconds for us to reach our maximum altitude for this first flight.”
“When we get 10 feet, Ingenuity will hover, which – if all goes well – should take about 30 seconds.”
The entire mission takes about 90 seconds, but largely determines the entire 30-sol mission of the helicopter.
While hovering, the helicopter’s navigation camera and laser altimeter feed information into the navigation computer to ensure Ingenuity not only stays level, but is also in the center of the 10 x 10 meter airfield – a piece of Mars real estate that was chosen for its flatness and lack of obstacles.
Then the Mars helicopter will descend and touch down again on the surface of the Jezero crater and send data back to Earth via endurance to confirm the flight.
Persistence is expected to use the Navcam and Mastcam Z imagers to obtain images of the flight. The images are expected to be released this evening (Monday, April 12, early morning in Southern California).
Ingenuity is expected to rise from a 33-by-33-foot lot on Mars, which is the first airfield on another planet, on Sunday, April 11th
The helicopter will also document the flight from his perspective. One color image and several lower resolution black and white navigation images may be available by the next morning.
Michael Watkins, Director of JPL, said: “The Wright brothers only had a handful of eyewitnesses on their first flight, but the historic moment was thankfully captured in a great photo.”
“Now, 117 years later, we can offer a wonderful opportunity to share the results of the first attempt at motorized, controlled flight on another world via our robotic photographers on Mars.”