The small Mars helicopter Ingenuity flew again on Thursday and its second flight flew not only longer and higher on Monday, but also sideways. It was announced by the US space agency NASA and published pictures of successful maneuvers. The second flight took 52 seconds, with Ingenuity reaching a height of five meters and moving two meters back and forth again. Color photos should also be taken easily. The flight was re-documented with a recording made by Rover Persistence.
More complicated than it sounds
“It sounds simple, but there are still a lot of unknowns about helicopter flights on Mars” Chief pilot Håvard Grip explained From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is responsible for Ingenuity. The atmosphere of the red planet only reaches about one percent of the density of the Earth. Therefore the rotors of Ingenuity have to be replaced much faster than terrestrial helicopters. In addition, Ingenuity must fly autonomously based on orders transmitted in advance, the signal propagation time on Earth is too long for direct control. The small helicopter achieved a sideways movement at a speed of more than about five degrees.
Intuition was strongly brought to Mars, but is not part of its main mission. Rather, it is a type of technology demonstration that is given only limited time. After the small helicopter with the historic first motorized flights of man-made object to another planet, it has been proven that it is possible, it should go now. With increasingly complex flight maneuvers, it should provide valuable data and also take photographs from an entirely new approach. Potential successors can locate difficult-to-reach locations and support people in the future. A really heavy load would probably never be transported in this way.
Internet fan. Alcohol expert. Beer ninja. Organizer. Certified tv specialist. Explorer. Social media nerd.