Research, Technology

5 Amazing Features of Ingenuity's Mars Helicopter

In April 2021, an event occurred thatis very important in the history of human development. The Ingenuity helicopter sent to Mars was able to make its first flight on the Red Planet - until that moment, scientists doubted that Earth-like aircraft could operate in such conditions. This event is almost as important as the successful flight of the world's first Flyer 1 aircraft in December 1903 (the Ingenuity design has an easter egg on this topic). Now, the first helicopter of its kind is flying around Mars for a reason, but helps the powerful Perseverance rover to lay an easy route on the surface of the Lake crater. And all this time he never ceases to amaze - every time he shows amazing possibilities that the mission leaders did not even know about before.

The Ingenuity helicopter has amazing features, which we'll talk about now.

Content

  • 1 Ingenuity flies great on Mars
  • 2 Ingenuity works even in winter
  • 3 Ingenuity is equipped with cameras
  • 4 Ingenuity durable
  • 5 Ingenuity flies despite bad navigation

Ingenuity flies great on Mars

Since we touched on the topic of flying along the Redplanet, let's talk about it in more detail. The Martian helicopter Ingenuity has a mass of 1.8 kilograms and, despite this, at the time of this writing on June 20, 2022, it has already completed 29 successful flights. In total, he stayed in the air for 54 minutes and during this time covered a distance of 6,988 meters. In the future, these figures will increase even more, even though winter is now on Mars.

During the flight of Ingenuity, clouds of dust rise into the air

Ingenuity works even in winter

In May 2022, mission leaders decided that inIn winter, the Ingenuity helicopter is better at saving energy. For less energy consumption, which is generated by solar panels, the heating system was partially turned off. Yes, this step could lead to a breakdown of the internal components of the structure, but the engineers chose the lesser of two evils.

The helicopter may not have survived the Martian winter, but it did

The fears were not in vain - in early June,helicopter broke inclinometer. This is the name of a device that is designed to measure the angle of inclination of various objects, in this case the aircraft itself. As a result of the 29th flight, it turned out that the rover is able to fly even without this component, even in winter conditions. The flight at a height of ten meters lasted 66.6 seconds - during this time the helicopter covered 179 meters at a speed of 5.5 meters per second.

You will be interested: What contribution to science does the Martian helicopter Ingenuity make?

Ingenuity is equipped with cameras

The Martian aircraft is equipped with twooptical devices. The first is a survey camera with a 13-megapixel Sony IMX 214 matrix - with it, he is able to take color pictures and send them to Earth. The second instrument is the navigation camera, which sees the planets in black and white. With the help of them, the device can take photos of scientifically interesting objects on the surface of Mars and, of course, help the Perseverance rover to travel only to the most convenient places.

One of the pictures taken by helicopter

Recently, the Ingenuity helicopter found debris on Mars. Here is a photo.

Ingenuity durable

It was originally assumed that the Ingenuity helicopterhe will try to fly on Mars and that's it - nothing more will be required of him. But he turned out to be very good at his job, so they decided to exploit him further. He has been on the Red Planet for more than a year and during this time, of course, he has encountered problems several times.

Ingenuity helicopter as seen by Perseverance rover

The biggest problem happened when one dayMartian spring began to flow into summer. The already rarefied atmosphere of Mars became even thinner, and the usual speed of rotation of the blades became insufficient for flight. But the problem was easily solved by increasing the frequency to 2700 rpm. True, at a high frequency of rotation, the helicopter flies less time at a time - this is necessary in order to prevent the engine from overheating.

Also a must read: The main achievements of the Martian helicopter Ingenuity in 2021

Ingenuity flies despite poor navigation

The Martian helicopter is not automatic -NASA sends commands to him and he executes them. The software of the apparatus was set up on Earth, on a completely flat ground. Since it was planned to use the device for a short time, the engineers did not particularly bother with its navigation system, but in vain. Because of this, today the Ingenuity helicopter is starting to make errors when flying over the uneven surfaces of Mars. Therefore, the mission leaders deliberately slow it down over the rocky parts of the planet. Even despite its imperfection, the NASA helicopter copes with its tasks perfectly.

What else will surprise us with Ingenuity? Will show time!

In order not to miss important news, subscribe to our Telegram. Here is the link.

For all these amazing features you needto thank its developer, who is an Indian engineer with a very interesting biography - we are talking about Jay Balarama. You can read more about it in this article.