Washington (DPA) – Taking a selfie at special places is clearly not just for people: On Mars, NASA rover “Perseverance” took a picture of itself with the mini-chopper “Ingenuity”.
The US Space Agency published the photo and wrote that “Perseverance” took it with his robotic arm, but it was actually composed of 62 individual photographs. In front of the picture is an “Ingenuity” helicopter ahead of the rover, which is about four meters from the vehicle and is about to make its first flight to the Red Planet in the next few days.
The 1.8 kg “Ingenuity” (in German: Simplicity) is to rise to an altitude of about three meters in its first test flight, hover there for thirty seconds and then land again on the surface of Mars. This will be the first flight of an aircraft on another planet. “Ingenuity” powered by lithium-ion batteries can take several more flight attempts for about a month.
Helicopters have to avoid extreme conditions: at night it is minus 90 degrees Celsius on Mars, the planet’s gravitational pull is low and the atmosphere is very thin. The mini-helicopter was put on a “perseverance” in late February – after a 203-day flight and a 472 million-kilometer trip – with a risky maneuver called “Jezero Crater” in a dry Mars lake. The lake has to be examined with a diameter of about 45 km in the next two years.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210408-99-129390 / 4
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