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NASA’s mini-helicopter survived its first night alone in the cold Mars region, the US space agency said, praising it as “a major milestone” in the small spacecraft as it prepares for its first flight.
An ultra-light plane was shot in the face on Saturday after it crashed into the abdomen of a Perseverance rover, which hit the Red Planet on February 18.
Based on Perseverance, ingenuity had to rely on its solar-powered battery to use an important heater to protect its unheated electrical components from cold and cracking during bitter Martian nights, when temperatures below -1 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius) .
Doing this on a cold Martian night “has been a milestone in this small rotorcraft,” NASA said in a statement Monday.
“It’s the first time that intelligence has been on Mars’ face,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“But now we have the assurance that we have enough equipment, the right heaters, and enough power for our battery to survive this cold night, which has won the team. We are happy to continue to wisely prepare for the first flight test.”
In the coming days, the intelligence will deal with the rotor blade and its motors.
If all goes well, intelligence is expected to try to get off the plane before April 11 evening, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.
It will be the first flight to try to fly, held on another planet.
Taxes on the Wright brothers
Intelligence holds a piece of cloth covering one of the wings of the Wright brothers’ first airplane that landed the first powerful plane on Earth at Kitty Hawk in 1903, to pay tribute.
Its effort will also coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first human space shuttle, launched by Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, and the 40th anniversary of the launch of the first spacecraft, in Colombia on April 12, 1981.
Intelligence will be trying to fly in the space of one percent of the earth’s surface, making energy gains difficult – but will be helped by the gravitational pull of one third of our planet.
The first flight will involve an increase of 3 meters per second to a height of 10 meters, to move up there for 30 seconds, and then descend back over.
The intelligence will take high-resolution images as it flies to its “airport” at Jezero Crater.
A series of flights are planned in addition to its long-term mission 30 Martian sols (31 earth days).
“Our 30-sol test program is loaded with exciting milestones,” said Teddy Tzanetos, who heads the intelligence chief.
“Whatever the future holds, we will get all the flight details we can get at that time.”
The four-kilometer (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft cost NASA approximately $ 85 million to upgrade it and is considered proof of a potential theory of spatial exploration.
Future aircraft can cover the ground much faster than rovers, and explore rough terrain.