Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

SLAM: debunk creationism, pseudoscience, and superstitions. Discuss logic and morality.

Moderator: Alyrium Denryle

Post Reply
Crazedwraith
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11041
Joined: 2003-04-10 03:45pm
Location: Cheshire, England

Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Crazedwraith »

The BBC
The American space agency has successfully flown a small helicopter on Mars.

The drone, called Ingenuity, was airborne for less than a minute, but Nasa is celebrating what represents the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft on another world.

Confirmation came via a satellite at Mars which relayed the chopper's data back to Earth.

The space agency is promising more adventurous flights in the days ahead.

Ingenuity will be commanded to fly higher and further as engineers seek to test the limits of the technology.

The rotorcraft was carried to Mars in the belly of Nasa's Perseverance Rover, which touched down in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet in February.

"We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet," said a delighted MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

"We've been talking for so long about our 'Wright Brothers moment' on Mars, and here it is."

This is a reference to Wilbur and Orville Wright who conducted the first powered, controlled aircraft flight here on Earth in 1903.

Ingenuity even carries a small swatch of fabric from one of the wings of Flyer 1, the aircraft that made that historic flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, more than 117 years ago.

There were cheers in the JPL control centre as the first photos of the flight arrived back on Earth. In the background, MiMi Aung could be heard saying: "It's real!"

To claps from her colleagues, she tore up the contingency speech to have been used in the event of failure.

The demonstration saw the Mars-copter rise to about 3m, hover, swivel and then land. In all, it managed almost 40 seconds of flight, from take-off to landing.

Getting airborne on the Red Planet is not easy. The atmosphere is very thin, just 1% of the density here at Earth. This gives the blades on a rotorcraft very little to bite into to gain lift.

There's help from the lower gravity at Mars, but still - it takes a lot of work to get up off the ground.
ngenuity was therefore made extremely light and given the power (a peak power of 350 watts) to turn those blades extremely fast - at over 2,500 revolutions per minute for this particular flight.

Control was autonomous. The distance to Mars - currently just under 300 million km - means radio signals take minutes to traverse the intervening space. Flying by joystick is simply out of the question.

Asked whether she was surprised the flight had worked, MiMi Aung said: "No, I'm not. We really had nailed the equations, the models and the verification here on Earth in our laboratory tests. So, it then became a question of: have we chosen the right materials to build Ingenuity, to survive the space environment, to survive the Mars environment?

"We've gone from 'theory says you can' to really now having done it. It's a major first for the human race," she told BBC News.

Ingenuity has two cameras onboard. A black-and-white camera that points down to the ground, which is used for navigation, and a high-resolution colour camera that looks out to the horizon.

A sample navigation image sent back to Earth revealed the helicopter's shadow on the floor of the crater as it came back in to land. Satellites will send home more pictures of the flight over the next day. There was only sufficient bandwidth in the orbiters' first overflight to return a short snatch of video from Perseverance, which was watching and snapping away from a distance of 65m. Longer sequences should become available in due course.

Nasa has announced that the "airstrip" in Jezero where Perseverance dropped off Ingenuity for its demonstration will henceforth be known as the "Wright Brothers Field".

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - the United Nations' civil aviation agency - has also presented the Nasa and the US Federal Aviation Administration with an official ICAO designator: IGY, call-sign INGENUITY.

A successful maiden outing means that a further four flights will be attempted over the coming days, each one taking the helicopter further afield.

The hope is this initial demonstration could eventually transform how we explore some distant worlds.

Drones might be used to scout ahead for future rovers, and even astronauts once they eventually get to Mars.

"It's really taking a tool that we haven't been able to use before and putting it in the box of tools that is available for all of our missions going forward at Mars. So for me, it's really exciting personally and for the community overall it opens up new doors," said Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, the head of science at Nasa.

"We will be able to explore areas where we cannot use a rover. Some of these crater walls, for example, are so exciting; scientists have been writing papers about them."

Nasa has already approved a helicopter mission to Titan, the big moon of Saturn. Dragonfly, as the mission is known, should arrive at Titan in the mid-2030s.
Pics at the link.

Super cool stuff, especially as it all had to be designed from theory and models.
User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 27445
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Broomstick »

Hmmm..... NASA does own the world's largest vacuum test chamber (which, if you're a fan of Marvel movies you've actually seen - it's where they filmed the initial tesseract scene when Loki first comes to Earth in the first Avengers movie). Among other, smaller facilities. I'd be surprised if they they didn't do some testing in such a low-pressure chamber prior to sending the device to Mars.

But maybe not.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
User avatar
Solauren
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 8949
Joined: 2003-05-11 09:41pm

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Solauren »

Broomstick wrote: 2021-04-19 04:23pm Hmmm..... NASA does own the world's largest vacuum test chamber (which, if you're a fan of Marvel movies you've actually seen - it's where they filmed the initial tesseract scene when Loki first comes to Earth in the first Avengers movie). Among other, smaller facilities. I'd be surprised if they they didn't do some testing in such a low-pressure chamber prior to sending the device to Mars.

But maybe not.
You can simulate the low pressure, sure. However, they can't simulate the combination of low-air pressure AND low gravity.
I've been asked why I still follow a few of the people I know on Facebook with 'interesting political habits and view points'.

It's so when they comment on or approve of something, I know what pages to block/what not to vote for.
User avatar
Batman
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 15802
Joined: 2002-07-09 04:51am
Location: Seriously thinking about moving to Marvel because so much of the DCEU stinks

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Batman »

If it can handle the lower pressure on Earth I don't see how the lower gravity on Mars is going to hinder its ability to fly
'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'
User avatar
Solauren
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 8949
Joined: 2003-05-11 09:41pm

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Solauren »

Batman wrote: 2021-04-19 04:51pm If it can handle the lower pressure on Earth I don't see how the lower gravity on Mars is going to hinder its ability to fly
Hinder? Probably not.

However, even with precise measurements, etc, you never quite know how things are going to go until you do a field test.

However, this was wildly successful, and they now have on hands, hard data which they can refine any future flight programs with.
I've been asked why I still follow a few of the people I know on Facebook with 'interesting political habits and view points'.

It's so when they comment on or approve of something, I know what pages to block/what not to vote for.
User avatar
GuppyShark
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2732
Joined: 2005-03-13 06:52am
Location: South Australia

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by GuppyShark »

Batman wrote: 2021-04-19 04:51pm If it can handle the lower pressure on Earth I don't see how the lower gravity on Mars is going to hinder its ability to fly
Changes how it responds to directional thrust. There's a few Smarter Every Day videos on a similar situation where they were testing how to do lunar landings.
User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 27445
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Broomstick »

Lower gravity won't hinder its ability to fly but it will change how it flies and how it responds to various inputs. It's less of a factor than the extremely low pressure, but it's still a factor.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
jerry66
Redshirt
Posts: 28
Joined: 2021-04-07 08:15am

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by jerry66 »

The rotor speed was approximately 5x what would have been needed to lift the same weight here on earth due to the low air pressure/density. They plan on using larger aircraft in the future to move scientific packages around but they will have to have correspondingly fast rotor speeds or larger rotors to compensate for the difference in density.
jerry66
Redshirt
Posts: 28
Joined: 2021-04-07 08:15am

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by jerry66 »

The great achievement has been made for the Perseverance mission and for whole space exploration area. Excellent work by NASA's scientists and engineers. I guess that this flight will help humans in futher Mars exploration and of course it will help in making the first crewed mission to the red planet
User avatar
Soontir C'boath
SG-14: Fuck the Medic!
Posts: 6598
Joined: 2002-07-06 12:15am
Location: Queens, NYC I DON'T FUCKING CARE IF MANHATTEN IS CONSIDERED NYC!! I'M IN IT ASSHOLE!!!
Contact:

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Soontir C'boath »

Life on Mars sounds like rocket engines are an absolute must over propellers and even jet engines.
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season."
jerry66
Redshirt
Posts: 28
Joined: 2021-04-07 08:15am

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by jerry66 »

Have you already seen the photo that has been taken by Ingenuity helicopter? The image has been taken on 17 feet above the ground and showes us Mars` rusty, red surface of Mars. https://hypebeast.com/2021/4/nasa-mars- ... ign=ig_bio
User avatar
Isolder74
Official SD.Net Ace of Cakes
Posts: 6749
Joined: 2002-07-10 01:16am
Location: Weber State of Construction University
Contact:

Re: Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Post by Isolder74 »

Sadly the space deniers are all having a conniption fit over this. The entire idea of sending a drone to Mars to increase the area that can be explored it genius. You have to love that someone thought of this and at the same time figured out how it would work and then programed flight software to fly it around.

The time lag to Mars is way to long to try doing this on manual remote control. The work on designing guidance software for the previous rovers are really bearing fruit.
Hapan Battle Dragons Rule!
When you want peace prepare for war! --Confusious
That was disapointing ..Should we show this Federation how to build a ship so we may have worthy foes? Typhonis 1
The Prince of The Writer's Guild|HAB Spacewolf Tank General| God Bless America!
Post Reply