NASA’s Mars Helicopter reports in

(19 February 2021 – JPL) The know-how demonstration has phoned house from the place it’s hooked up to the stomach of NASA’s Perseverance rover.

Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California have acquired the primary standing report from the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which landed Feb. 18, 2021, at Jezero Crater hooked up to the stomach of the company’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. The downlink, which arrived at 3:30 p.m. PST (6:30 p.m. EST) by way of a connection by way of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, signifies that each the helicopter, which is able to stay hooked up to the rover for 30 to 60 days, and its base station ({an electrical} field on the rover that shops and routes communications between the rotorcraft and Earth) are working as anticipated.

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On this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Pink Planet’s floor as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially seen on the left) rolls away. (courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“There are two big-ticket gadgets we’re on the lookout for within the information: the state of cost of Ingenuity’s batteries in addition to affirmation the bottom station is working as designed, commanding heaters to show on and off to maintain the helicopter’s electronics inside an anticipated vary,” mentioned Tim Canham, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter operations lead at JPL. “Each look like working nice. With this constructive report, we are going to transfer ahead with tomorrow’s cost of the helicopter’s batteries.”

Making certain that Ingenuity has loads of saved vitality aboard to take care of heating and different important features whereas additionally sustaining optimum battery well being is crucial to the success of the Mars Helicopter. The one-hour power-up will enhance the rotorcraft’s batteries to about 30% of its whole capability. A number of days after that, they’ll be charged once more to achieve 35%, with future charging classes deliberate weekly whereas the helicopter is hooked up to the rover. The info downlinked throughout tomorrow’s cost classes might be in comparison with battery-charging classes carried out throughout cruise to Mars to assist the staff plan future charging classes.

Like a lot of the 4-pound (2-kilogram) rotorcraft, the six lithium-ion batteries are off-the-shelf. They at the moment obtain recharges from the rover’s energy provide. As soon as Ingenuity is deployed to Mars’ floor, the helicopter’s batteries might be charged solely by its personal photo voltaic panel.

After Perseverance deploys Ingenuity to the floor, the helicopter will then have a 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) experimental flight check window. If Ingenuity survives its first bone-chilling Martian nights – the place temperatures dip as little as minus 130 levels Fahrenheit (minus 90 levels Celsius) – the staff will proceed with the primary flight of an plane on one other world.

If Ingenuity succeeds in taking off and hovering throughout its first flight, over 90% of the mission’s objectives may have been achieved. If the rotorcraft lands efficiently and stays operable, as much as 4 extra flights could possibly be tried, every one constructing on the success of the final.

“We’re in uncharted territory, however this staff is used to that,” mentioned MiMi Aung, mission supervisor for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. “Nearly each milestone from right here by way of the tip of our flight demonstration program might be a primary, and every has to succeed for us to go on to the following. We’ll take pleasure in this excellent news for the second, however then we now have to get again to work.”

Subsequent-generation rotorcraft, the descendants of Ingenuity, might add an aerial dimension to future exploration of the Pink Planet. These superior robotic flying automobiles would provide a novel viewpoint not supplied by present orbiters excessive overhead or by rovers and landers on the bottom, offering high-definition pictures and reconnaissance for robots or people, and allow entry to terrain that’s tough for rovers to achieve.

Extra About Ingenuity

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was constructed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California which additionally manages the know-how demonstration for NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA’s Ames and Langley Analysis Facilities supplied vital flight efficiency evaluation and technical help. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, Snapdragon, and SolAero additionally supplied design help and main automobile elements. The Mars Helicopter Supply System was designed and manufactured by Lockheed Area Methods in Denver.

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