NASA made history on Monday – the Ingenuity Mars helicopter made its first controlled flight on another planet.
The space agency originally planned the flight for April 11, but postponed it due to a software problem that was revealed during scheduled high-speed tests of the aircraft’s rotors.
Since the problem has been resolved, NASA has scheduled a 1.8kg drone flight at 0730 GMT. Data on the results of the test flight appeared at 10:50 GMT.
The first flight on Earth was made by the Wright brothers in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In honor of this feat, Ingenuity delivered a piece of cloth to Mars from this plane.
The helicopter went to Mars, attached to the bottom of the Perseverance rover, which landed on the planet on February 18 as part of a mission to look for signs of extraterrestrial life. In turn, Ingenuity’s goal is to demonstrate new technologies, it will not contribute to the achievement of the scientific goals of Perseverance. However, NASA sent Ingenuity to Mars to pave the way for future flying vehicles that will transform celestial exploration. Future helicopters will be able to reach areas inaccessible to rovers and travel much faster.
The helicopter flight time was chosen taking into account the weather on Mars. The wind is an unpredictable factor that could jeopardize the entire mission.
Previously, NASA published a flight plan: the helicopter rises for about six seconds, hovers and rotates for about half a minute, and then descends.
The flight was completely autonomous, preprogrammed in Ingenuity, as signals are sent from Earth to Mars in 15 minutes.
The helicopter successfully took off, hovered in the air, and landed.
The rover filmed the Ingenuity flight. This is the first helicopter flight on another planet.