NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has concluded its third mission of flight and reconnaissance, leading to the remote-controlled spacecraft making history with its performance and track. The space agency noted that the Ingenuity went flying higher and faster than expected, now leading to a new venture for NASA that hints of a "rovercraft."
The little helicopter is like a "joey" stowed beneath the Perseverance rover, which resembles the mother kangaroo that stows its child in its underbelly. Then, when the little device is tasked to come out and play, it would spring from underneath and starts its flight to surveil the location and give new intel on the neighboring planet.
Last April 19 was only the first test flight attempt of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, but after its initial glitchy thoughts and control, the spacecraft has already proven itself to withstand and prevail on another planet. After fixing the so-called "timing glitch" with its control from Earth to Mars, which is a far remote situation, it has been on a flying spree of successful attempts.
NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: Third Flight is Historic
"Third time's the charm," so to say, and that includes the situation of NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter that took flight and returned with flying colors and proving that it is a drone helicopter made for that. According to NASA, the team for Ingenuity has whipped up the remote-controlled (RC) helicopter on Mars to test its capabilities again.
The spacecraft maintain its altitude, the same as its second flight, but has improved on speed and distance which went way beyond the team and space agency's expectations as it was already calculated here on Earth. At 16 feet Mars altitude, the Ingenuity zipped through 164 feet of distance from its starting point, while maintaining a top speed of 6.6 feet per second (2 meters per second).
Because of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's success, the team is ecstatic to create new spacecraft to join the next Mars mission and be left there to serve as vehicles for further exploration. The team has envisioned a "rotorcraft" to be made for the Red Planet soon, utilizing an airplane's technology of using a spinning rotor.
Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: Rotorcraft in the Works?
What this entails for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is for NASA to test its capabilities and add more work into its routine, which is to capture more photos while flying in different locations. However, instead of remote-controlled image capturing, the Ingenuity will take photos of its own, and send those data to NASA as part of its surveillance.
While missions towards the Red Planet would be far ahead in the future and human missions are yet to come, the next big thing for this venture would be the rotorcraft. Ideally, technology with rotors have the potential to go the most distance from a place, compared to the spinning blades of a helicopter.
However, the rotorcraft would take a larger body and power source for this to work, and a challenge for its control that still sees a delayed transmission from this planet, to the next.
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Written by Isaiah Richard