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Helicopter on Mars : Ingenuity

I am very much interested in mars exploration programs and I am a researcher on mars missions. This article is part of my research.

 Mars Helicopter :Ingenuity

Mars Helicopter :Ingenuity

Image captured by ingenuity by nav-cam.

Image captured by ingenuity by nav-cam.

Image captured by perseverance during ingenuity flight.

Image captured by perseverance during ingenuity flight.

Shadow of ingenuity captured by onboard nav-cam

Shadow of ingenuity captured by onboard nav-cam

Ingenuity: Helicopter on Mars

The experimental aircraft was sent to Mars to test the feasibility of making the first-ever controlled, powered flight on another planet, which it successfully achieved on 19 April 2021. The Mars Helicopter, the Ingenuity, is a new technology of powered, controlled flight on another planet for the first time. Ingenuity hitched a ride on the Perseverance rover's belly, covered by a shield to protect it during the descent and landing. At a suitable spot on Mars, the shield covering beneath the rover dropped. Then, once at the selected flight zone, the team released the helicopter in several steps to get it safely onto the surface. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once the rover reached a suitable "airfield" location, it released Ingenuity to the surface. As an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration

The helicopter completed its technology demonstration after three successful flights. For the first-flight on April 19, 2021, Ingenuity took off, climbed to about 10 feet (3 meters) above the ground, hovered in the air briefly, completed a turn, and then landed. It was a major milestone and the very first powered, controlled flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars and in fact, the first such flight in any world beyond Earth. After that, the helicopter successfully performed additional experimental flights of incrementally farther distance and greater altitude. With its tech demo complete, Ingenuity transitions to a new operations demonstration phase to explore how future rovers and aerial explorers can work together.

Specifications of Ingenuity:

Mass-1.8 kilograms

Weight-4 pounds on Earth; 1.5 pounds on Mars

Width-Total length of rotors: ~4 feet (~1.2 meters).

Power-Solar panel charges Lithium-ion batteries, providing enough energy for one 90-second flight per Martian day (~350 Watts of average power during flight)

Blade span-Just under 4 feet (1.2 meters)

Flight range-Up to 980 feet (300 meters)

Flight altitude-Up to 15 feet (5 meters)

Flight environment-Thin atmosphere, less than 1% as dense as Earth's.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic Flights:

NASA’s Ingenuity completed six flights till date as of it was intended to fly up to five times during its 30-day test campaign scheduled early in the rover’s mission. Primarily technology demonstrations, each flight was planned to fly at altitudes ranging from 3-5 m (10-16 ft) above the ground for up to 90 seconds each. Ingenuity, which can travel up to 50 m (160 ft) downrange and then back to the starting area, uses autonomous control during its short flights, which are telerobotically planned and scripted by operators at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It communicates directly with the Perseverance rover after each landing. The expected lateral range was exceeded in the third flight, the flight duration was exceeded in the sixth flight. This was later designated as the first phase of its mission, to demonstrate the possibility of flight. The further phases are later designated as a demonstration of the operational possibilities for Mars exploration.

First flight-9 April 2021, 07:34 (UTC)

Launch date-30 July 2020, 11:50:00

Launch site-Cape Canaveral, SLC-41

Last flight-22 May 2021.

Landing date-18 February 2021.

Landing site-Jezero crater Octavia E. Butler Landing


Status-Operational (Deployed from Perseverance on 3 April 2021),Maiden flight-19 April 2021.

Tributes to the Wright Brothers, the scientists of NASA thought the Wright Brothers moment, by analogy to the first successful airplane flight on Earth and named the first flight field on mars of Ingenuity as Wright Brothers field and a small piece of the wing cloth from the Wright brothers 1903 Wright Flyer is attached to a cable underneath Ingenuity's solar panel.

Things to Know About NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter:

1. Ingenuity is a flight test- four specially made carbon-fibres blades, arranged into two rotors that spin in opposite directions at around 2,400 rpm – many times faster than a passenger helicopter on Earth.

2. Ingenuity will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet- The Mars atmosphere is 99% less dense than Earth's, Ingenuity has to be light, with rotor blades that are much larger and spin much faster than what would be required for a helicopter of Ingenuity's mass on Earth.

3. Ingenuity is named as like that because, for a robot that is the result of extreme creativity.

4. Ingenuity has already validated feats of engineering

5. Ingenuity success will help us to study future Mars exploration should encompass an ambitious aerial dimension on mars.

6. Ingenuity fly autonomously and keep on contact with Perseverance by on-board.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made 106 meters jump during 7th flight:

On June 7,2021 NASA's ingenuity helicopter completed 7th flight on mars flying to 106 mts south. During this flight Ingenuity flew for 62.8 seconds and travelled ~106 mts south to a new landing area. 7th flight went completely well without any anomalies. But if the navigation system relied on the IMU alone, it would not be very accurate in the ling run. error would eventually lose its way. To maintain better accuracy over time, the IMU-based estimates are nominally corrected in a regular basis and this is where ingenuity's navigation camera comes in. For the majority of the time airborne, the downward-looking nav-cams takes 30 pictures a second of the Martian surface and immediately feeds them into the helicopter's navigation system. The navigation algorithm uses the difference between the predicted and actual locations of these features to correct its estimates of position, velocity and attitude.

© 2021 Boddepalli v s s Udaynadh

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