NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter called home, more than 60 days after the last call.
The Chinese space agency believes that the Zurong spacecraft on Mars may have been caused by dust
Ingenuity’s last flight was on April 26, when the rotorcraft hovered in the Martian sky for 139 seconds and jumped 363 metres.
The helicopter’s role is to hover ahead of the Perseverance Rover and scout out any potential obstacles or items of interest. On Flight 52, this meant that the flying machine landed on top of a hill, in a place where it had no line of sight to the rover.
Since then, perseverance has taken the hill, peaked, and on June 28th I was able to see creativity and reconnect.
NASA appreciation From the condition of the helicopter – based on the few data it shares – “suggests that all is well with the first plane in another world.”
This period of silence for creativity has nothing to do with the horrific incident after Flight 49, when the helicopter was out of contact for more than six days. On that occasion, the rocky outcrop was an expected source of complications for the comms, but creativity was also “drifting in and out of survival mode” and the lack of an “ack” for several days was a source of “concern”. “
The helicopter eventually got back into action and flew three more times before the Martian terrain silenced it after Flight 52.
A tentative flight plan has been developed for the 53rd flight, during which NASA hopes to visit “a temporary airfield to the west, where the team plans to make another westward flight to a new base of operations near an outcrop, which the Perseverance team is interested in exploring.”
Watch the sky – you may not be alone
The initial Ingenuity mission only called for five flights, as NASA wasn’t sure if the rotorcraft could fly in the Red Planet’s very thin atmosphere.
Japanese researchers tackled the same problem with a different design: a robot modeled after a hummingbird—a creature whose wings swing back and forth instead of up and down as in other birds.
June paper in it naturePenned by scientists from Japanese universities, it details tests of a robot that flew like a hummingbird at a simulated altitude of 9,000 metres.
The authors conclude that their work “can be extrapolated to the ultra-thin Martian atmosphere” where “such a flickering robot could enable rovers-assisted military atmospheric exploration and human exploration.”
But for now, creativity rules the Martian sky. ®
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