To date Ingenuity, the small helicopter arrived on Mars together with the rover Perseverance, is at its third flight on the red planet. Its one was the first flight on another planet. The problems were a lot as well as the doubts, but Ingenuity amazed the whole world and it was able to do something that seemed impossible.
Ingenuity, the martian elicopter
Ingenuity arrived on Mars the last 18th of february, together with the rover Perseverance. Its one is a mission that made the history. It is, infact, the first aircraft to fly on another planet.
Ingenuity is a mini helicopter of about 2 kg. It is equipped with four blades in carbon fiber, placed on two rotors that rotate at 2.400 spins per minute. The mini drone helicopter is even equipped with solar panels and batteries, to allow its autonomy.
“It seems absolutely crazy. We fly on Earth for a bit more than 100 years, and now we say “Yes, we are going on another planet and we will fly”. It’s crazy. But this is the beaty of exploration” – Farah Alibay, Jpl of Nasa.
The first days on Mars of Ingenuity
To its arrival on the red planet, Perseverance landed inside the crater Jezero. It did the first orientation manoeuvrings and it went on a flat area, which was perfect for the first fly of Ingenuity.
The 4th of april it detached from the rover and, for the first time, it was completely exposed to the unwelcome martian conditions.
After that it spent six days to reach the took off position. During the six days Perseverance observed it and it sent on the base on Earth incredible pictures of the small helicopter and of the alien planet that surrounded them.
Why is it so hard to fly on another planet?
The one of Ingenuity is a mission that made the histoy. After a bit more than 100 years of terrestrial flights, we were able to fly on another planet.
But why is it so hard to fly on Mars?
The atmosphere of Mars has a density of only the 1% of the terrestrial one and for this reason it doesn’t support the fly of an aircraft.
And it is for this reason that Ingenuity is so light. And it is even for the same reason that its blades move eight times faster than the ones of the terrestrial helicopters.
The first flight on Mars
What was the purpose of Ingenuity in the mission Perseverance? It was simply the one to fly and to perfectly work. Its only purpose was the one to demonstrate that human was able to make flying an aircraft on another planet. And to shot some pictures from above.
The first controlled flight on Mars occured the last 19th of april, after the delay of the 11st of april. The flight took place at the 9:30 am. But they received the feedback only three hours later.
Ingenuity flown for about 40 seconds and then it landed without problems. Everything went as planned.
The helicopter risen of about three meters from the martian ground and then it landed again. It then activated the solar panels and went to rest.
Hard days, infact, were waiting for it.
Second and third flight
The second flight of Ingenuity on Mars occured the last 22nd of april. The second flight lasted more than 50 seconds, it reached five meters of altitude. Once reached the altitude it did a rotation and a horizontal movement of about two meters. It then had a break while flying and it came back to the starting position.
Lastely, the 25th of april Ingenuity had its third flight on Mars. It reached the five meters of altitude again, but this time it moved more. It moved, infact of 50 meters toward North, and then it came back, for a total of 100 meters.
In the third flight it even beated its speed records, by passing from a speed of 0,5 meters per second to 2 meters per second.
Ingenuity demonstrated to be perfectly able to fly on another planet. It is an event that made the history.
This post is also available in: Italiano