NASA successfully flies helicopter on Mars
On April 19, 10:52 GMT, NASA announced that the Ingenuity helicopter has successfully completed its first flight on Mars.
The small helicopter was sent to the Red Planet together with Perseverance rover. It is a technology demonstrator, intended to demonstrate the possibility of flight in planet’s sparse atmosphere.
According to the agency, it took about four hours for the data about the flight to be transferred to Earth and decoded.
Ingenuity’s first hop lasted about 40 seconds. It took the aircraft to the height of 3 meters (10 feet), where it hovered and took photos before landing. Further flights are supposed to take the aircraft higher and farther, allowing to survey Perseverance’s surroundings.
Martian atmosphere has less than 1% of Earth’s atmosphere density, an issue the aircraft gets around by having extremely small weight and large, fast-spinning rotor blades.
The flight was supposed to happen on April 11, but was delayed due to unexpected problems during the first high-speed spin test. Subsequent tests were successful, according to NASA.
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