NASA Helicopter on Mars

The Ingenuity helicopter is the first powered aircraft with controlled flight on another planet, covering a distance of 704 meters at a speed of 5.5 meters per hour, making it the longest and fastest helicopter flight on the Red Planet to date.

One of the aerial inspections of the NASA Ingenuity helicopter, on Mars, revealed images that went viral, thinking that they were the remains of an alien ship on the red planet. The truth is that NASA confirmed that these components are about the protection of the Perseverance rover, the rear capsule that helped the Martian vehicle reach its destination on the planet’s surface last year.

Although the Perseverance landing in February 2021 is considered one of the best documented in history, with surveillance cameras that captured every slight movement, such as the deployment of the parachute or the recording of data such as temperature or atmospheric pressure. The scientists believe that knowing the state in which the remains of the capsule are found could reveal even more details about the performance of the materials during the entry into the atmosphere, its descent and landing on the surface; in the images they can barely capture few details of each of the components of the capsule. In them you can see the reinforcement of the parachute, its suspension lines, the protective rear shield itself, among other debris covered by Martian dust.

What Ingenuity has achieved is described as a record, since, initially, this robotic helicopter was intended to carry out only five flights on Mars and its already 28 flights were not planned, but the scientists want to continue carrying out flyby missions on Martian soil, their flights are autonomous. Pilots plan and send commands to the Perseverance Mars rover, which then transmits those commands to the helicopter. During a flight, onboard sensors—the navigation camera, an inertial measurement unit, and a laser rangefinder—provide real-time data to Ingenuity’s main flight computer and navigation processor, which guide the helicopter through flight. This allows Ingenuity to react to the landscape while executing its commands.

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