Cleverness Helicopter Nails 5th flight and start new missions

The fifth plane of NASA's innovative Mars helicopter was captured on a navigation camera in May 2021.

The fifth plane of NASA’s innovative Mars helicopter was captured on a navigation camera in May 2021.
Pictures: NASA / JPL-Caltech

From what we’ve seen over the last few weeks, it’s safe to say that a small helicopter built by NASA could pack a big punch. The space agency’s Enginity helicopter nailed its fifth scheduled aircraft on Friday and completed its initial targets. It will now embark on a new mission to a distant planet.

For this The fifth scheduled aircraft, Skills Wright Brothers Field, or another airfield 423 feet (129 meters) south of the official take-off and landing site. When it reached its new airfield, the small helicopter rose to a height of 33 feet (10 meters) – which A new record – and shot some high-resolution images of its “new surroundings” as “NASA” described before landing -. The aircraft lasted a total of 108 seconds.

“We are grateful for the support we have provided for the first historic first flight of a planet Rottercraft at our first Martian home, Wright Brothers Field,” said Bob Balram, chief engineer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory A press statement.

When compared with ingenuity The fourth successful aircraft, The fifth plane was a little shorter in both distance and time. On its fourth plane, it traveled the 872-foot (266-meter) roundtrip in 117 seconds. On Friday, efficiency doubled from 1 fly foot (five meters) on the fourth flight to 33 feet (10 meters) on the fifth flight.

However, this does not mean that the helicopter’s fifth plane was any less impressive or difficult. The skills team selected the helicopter’s new airfield based on information gathered on its fourth aircraft, which allowed them to create digital altitude maps. The maps indicated that the new site was formed almost entirely with flat terrain without any hindrance, which is an important factor in landing. According to NASA, this was the first “aerial scout” operation on another planet.

The expertise will now allow NASA to analyze how operations with next-generation helicopters could benefit future Mars exploration. Although the skill appeared as a technology demonstration on Mars – or a project that attempted to test a capability for the first time with a limited opportunity – to try a controlled aircraft on another planet, it got one New mission At the end of April

The new mission consists of an operation demonstration episode. This phase will focus on what kind of power a rotorcraft can provide on Mars, such as scouting, aerial observation of areas that rovers cannot get, and studies on detailed stereo imagery from atmospheric altitudes.

Some of you may ask, why was the skill absolutely moved to the airfield? First of all, Skills has already done what was sent in its 31-Earth-Day Demonstration Window, so whatever is done from now on is a delightful bonus for all of us on earth and of course for science.

However, in order to advance to the stage of demonstrating its activities, the skill must be with his friend – or as I would say his proud parents – Perseverance Rover. Perseverance serves as a relay of communication between competitors, Mars orbiters and mission controllers on Earth. The rover has its own schedule to search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars, to study the planet’s climate and geology, and to collect samples for future returns to Earth.

“We’re embarking on a new base because it’s the direction to go with perseverance, and if we want to continue to show what can be done from an aerial point of view, we have to go wherever the rover goes,” said Josh Rovich, head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Mechanical Engineering. , A Status update.

NASA Says The flights will be reduced from once every few days to once every two or three weeks while showing curiosity campaigns. These will also be determined so that they do not hinder the activities of science in perseverance. The Curiosity team will evaluate aircraft operations after 30 Souls or 31 Earth Days and will complete them by the end of August.

Inside The announcement Regarding Inginiti’s new mission over the next few weeks, Mimi Aung, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s engineering project manager, said her team appreciated the support provided by the Perseverance Rover team during the engineering technology demonstration.

“We now have the opportunity to pay for it in advance, demonstrating the benefits of having a close partner for future robotic and even crew missions that could provide a different perspective – one from the sky,” Aung said. “We’re going to take this opportunity and run with it – and fly with it.”

More: Listen to the incredible sound of NASA’s clever helicopter flying over Mars

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