NASA’s Mars helicopter exceeds expectations in every way
NASA’s Mars helicopter has already made four flights to the Red Planet. According to the Ingenuity team, he has completed everything he needs to be considered a success, but he hasn’t done it yet. In fact, the limitations that NASA thought they had to face when testing the helicopter no longer seem to be so great, and that’s great news for scientists who want to push the helicopter to its absolute limits. In a new blog post on NASA’s Mars Science website, Josh Ravich of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ingenuity team reveals the group’s feelings about the helicopter’s performance so far. To put it simply, the helicopter totally crushed it and the tiny helicopter seems to easily handle all the dangers on the Martian surface. The group were concerned that the helicopter might fail early on, but that never happened and it works so well that the Ingenuity team are looking to a longer testing schedule. It’s actually pretty wild that the helicopter works as well as it does. The helicopter was built by NASA, but it has a number of “off the shelf” parts that were not designed for Mars. Despite this, the helicopter held up well and successfully completed the tasks assigned to it by its handlers. “Our helicopter is even more robust than we had hoped,” says Ravich. “The electrical system we have worried about for years provides more than enough energy to run our heaters at night and fly during the day. The commercially available components for our guidance and navigation systems also work very well, as does our rotor system. You name him, and he’s doing great or better. “The helicopter’s fifth flight will be, in many ways, its most important to date. It will fly further than ever before and it will not return to its original landing zone. Instead, it will fly to a new ‘airfield’ to continue testing while remaining in sight of the Perseverance rover. “We are traveling to a new base because that is the direction Perseverance is going, and if we are to continue to demonstrate what can be done about it. ‘From an aerial point of view, we have to go where the rover is going, “said Ravich. NASA will continue to push the limits of the helicopter and conduct test flights while collecting more and more data on its flights to Mars. Knowing that Mars did not completely destroy the helicopter’s most sensitive components after its exit by the rover is great news for NASA in the future, and could open the door to aerial vehicles more advanced which will be sent to Mars in the near future. ir.