With the landing of the Perseverance on Mars on February 18th, 2021, NASA is prepared to take its next step in exploring the red planet. An $85 million helicopter attached to the bottom of perseverance is prepared to take flight and will begin exploring mars shortly after April 14th. This helicopter (known as Ingenuity) is acting as a test for future usage of aerial drones that are to be used as scouts for future astronauts as they explore the landscape of a planet or moon.
The Ingenuity is fastened with a pair of carbon fiber propellers that spin at 2,400 revolutions per minute, which are designed to lift Ingenuity into the air in the Martian atmosphere where the air is only 1% as dense as that of Earth. Ingenuity is also prepared with six batteries that are solar-charged and are mainly used to heat the helicopter. Ingenuity must continuously provide itself with heat because the nights on Mars can drop as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit which ultimately freezes the helicopter and destroys it.
The Ingenuity will undergo a test flight that could prove to be groundbreaking for planetary exploration if it succeeds. Unfortunately, it will take eight hours for Ingenuity’s signal to reach earth and let its engineers know if the flight attempt was a success.
To honor historic flights, Ingenuity was given a piece of fabric that belonged to the first powered aircraft created on Earth by the Wright Brothers in 1903. This will symbolize just how far the human race has come, and how far we have yet to go.
Source: USA Today