Helicopter Ingenuity survives its first independent night on Mars (2 photos)

The second month of the expedition on MarsMars rover Perseverance, which landed on the planet on February 18, ends with a unique experiment designed to start the era of extraterrestrial aeronautics. The Ingenuity miniature helicopter detached from the rover on April 3 and spent the first night on the red planet in autonomous mode.

According to NASA estimates, in Jezero crater, where nowPerseverance and Ingenuity are located, night temperatures can drop to minus 90 degrees Celsius. Such low temperatures can cause thermal damage to mechanisms, on-board batteries and solar panels of the fragile helicopter, which weighs only 1.8 kg. The first flight over the surface of Mars is scheduled for April 8.

The importance of the event of the first extraterrestrial flight inthe atmosphere of another planet of the spacecraft created on Earth, emphasized by the engineers of NASA, who placed part of the skin of the first aircraft of the Wright brothers "Flyer-1" inside the Ingenuity hull. Of all the research equipment on board the compact helicopter, there is only a high-resolution camera that transmits data to Perseverance.

Ingenuity will take no more than 90 seconds to fly, thenthe device must land on the Martian surface and recharge its batteries. Before landing on the surface of Mars, the helicopter was attached to the "belly" of Perseverance, received electricity from it and was reliably protected from the Martian elements and cold weather. Ingenuity now stands on its own on four "legs" and is powered by solar panels that provide a heating system to survive the first cold nights on Mars.

The only task of the 30-day mission (dayMartian and last 24.6 Earth hours) Ingenuity is proof of the efficiency of terrestrial technologies for flight in the atmosphere of Mars. Ingenuity is currently collecting information on the status of thermal management systems and the operation of a few onboard systems. Obtaining these data will optimize the heating system of the helicopter to ensure its viability over the next 30 days of active flight experiments.

Source: NASA