NASA successfully flies helicopter on Mars [Video]

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • On Monday, NASA confirmed that it successfully navigated its first-ever remotely controlled aircraft ‘Ingenuity’ on Mars.
  • The mini-helicopter flew for over a minute as it accomplished making takeoff, spin, hover, descent and landing.
  • Ingenuity costs over $85 million and was built for over six years by NASA.

NASA successfully accomplished its first-ever controlled, powered flight on another planet through its Ingenuity Mars helicopter on Monday.

For 30 seconds, the helicopter floated at an altitude of 10 feet, then spent another roughly 40 seconds flying within the area. Ingenuity’s aerial span was over thrice longer than the Wright Flyer, the first successful flight in history in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, N.C. A bit of the wing fabric from the Wright Flyer was actually attached to Ingenuity.

“Ingenuity has performed its first flight — the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet!” per NASA’s morning audio broadcast on Monday during the flight control.

After securing the data from the Perseverance rover, NASA’s flight navigators confirmed the quick hovering of the Ingenuity. The four-pound mini copter was attached to the Perseverance on its way to Mars.

“We’ve been talking for so long about our Wright brothers moment,” MiMi Aung, Ingenuity’s project manager said. “And here it is.” 

The mini aircraft was able to accomplish all its objectives such as to make a spin-up, takeoff, hover, descent, and landing. It was able to fly for another 40 seconds after the initial hovering, which had been the goal of NASA.

Across the world, and even from space, scientists were happy about the successful bid.

“A whole new way to explore the alien terrain in our solar system is now at our disposal,” Astronomer Daniel Brown said from Nottingham Trent University in England.

“The shadow of greatness, #MarsHelicopter first flight on another world complete!” NASA astronaut Victor Glover wrote as he was tweeting from the International Space Station.

The helicopter’s twin needed counter-rotating rotor blades that would spin at 2,500 revolutions per minute (that is five times faster than here on Earth). Engineers built a lightweight but with highly efficient blades given Mars’ different atmosphere. NASA also invested on its durability to endure Martian wind and the frigid weather.

Ingenuity, which was built for over six years, is about 1.6 feet tall, with four, thin legs as its stand. Its fuselage had a size of a tissue box, where its batteries, heaters, and sensors are located. The biggest part of the copter is its foam-filled rotors made of carbon-fiber, with a length of 4 feet per pair. Ingenuity is also topped with a solar panel for battery recharging. 

Ingenuity’s creation, which amounts to $85 million, was treated as a high-risk, high reward project.

Source: Fox News

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