The Mars helicopter flew farther than Earth

The Mars helicopter flew farther than Earth
| Astronomy / Physics


The Mars Illustration helicopter made its third flight into the Red Planet’s atmosphere. This time it did not end with ascent, float and landing as it had done on the previous two flights. The device also flew horizontally. This is the first speed and range test. Ingenuity flew faster than tests on Earth.

During the first historic flight into the atmosphere of Mars, the ingenuity soared to a height of 3 meters and landed above the surface. During the second flight, the helicopter was 5 meters above the surface. Two days ago, on April 25, the helicopter soared to a height of 5 meters, then flew 50 meters, reaching a maximum speed of 2.2 m / s, i.e. approximately 8 km / h.

The helicopter team is now examining the sent data. Ingenuity They can be used not only during the next flights, but also by future Mars helicopters.

Today’s flight was planned in detail, but it was still an amazing achievement. This test shows that a flying vehicle could be added to future Mars, Says Dave Lavery, intelligence manager at NASA headquarters.

The helicopter plane was filmed by cameras on the rover of diligence. At the same time, the helicopter was equipped with a more powerful processor than the one used by the rover, which was filming its aircraft in color. This is also one of the components of helicopter tests. The observation team wants to squeeze it out of the device as much as possible so that it can determine the suitability of this type of vehicle for future missions to Mars and other solar objects.

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Ingenuity also has a black and white navigation camera, which recognizes the terrain. Images are constantly sent to the helicopter’s processor, and in this way the capabilities of the on-board system are tested. The computer capabilities of the camera and processor are some of the components that control the speed of the helicopter. If it is too large, the algorithm will not be able to track the terrain.

This is the first test we have seen of how the algorithm works in practice over long distances. This cannot be checked in the test roomSays project manager Mimi Ang. Simulating the conditions prevailing on Mars, the room where the Ingenoids were tested on Earth was not allowed to fly more than half a meter in any direction. So engineers do not know how the camera and software work and whether they work equally well all the time.

You have control over everything in the test room. There are safety features, you can land in a hurry. We did everything we could to fly intelligently without these protectionsEngineer Kerrick Kubiak explains.

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