Science

Moment Nasa reacts to successful Ingenuity flight

Moment Nasa reacts to successful Ingenuity flight”

NASA is about to find out whether its Mars helicopter successfully flew its first flight - a feat that could revolutionize spaceflight.

In NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, engineers cheered just before 7 am Eastern time as an image was transmitted back to Earth by the helicopter showing its shadow looming over the Martian surface during its flight, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Mars.

If everything goes as NASA hopes, Ingenuity's fifth and final flight will carry the helicopter over 980 feet (300 meters) of Martian ground.

"The moment our team has been waiting for is nearly here", Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung said at a recent briefing at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles.

"We've been talking for so long about our "Wright Brothers moment" on Mars, and here it is".

Ingenuity performs first flight on Mars

The first powered flight on Earth was achieved by the Wright brothers in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. As the atmosphere on Mars is just 1 percent of the density of Earth's atmosphere, Ingenuity has disproportionately large rotor blades for its tiny body, and will have to spin them at a dizzying 2,500 rotations per minute. The Ingenuity team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via the Perseverance rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.m. PDT). It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. "We don't know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today's results indicate the sky - at least on Mars - may not be the limit".

The robot rotorcraft was carried to the red planet strapped to the belly of Nasa's Mars rover Perseverance, a mobile astrobiology lab that touched down on February 18 in Jezero Crater after a almost seven-month journey through space.

You won't be able to watch the flight in real time - NASA can't livestream from another planet - but video of and from the flight will likely become available soon afterward.

Ingenuity's first flight is certainly one for the history books, and we really can't wait to see more flying vehicles exploring the planets and moons of the solar system.

Monday's test flight was originally scheduled for April 12, but NASA delayed it after a crucial spin test ended abruptly. Ingenuity is a technology demonstration, and this success opens up a completely new dimension of robotic space exploration. Additional flights could be added as part of an extended mission.

More news: Third dose likely needed after receiving two Pfizer vaccine shots: MOH official



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