Miami, April 19 (EFE News). – The successful maiden flight of the Light Ingenuity helicopter on Mars opens new avenues for space exploration in other worlds and with a deeper conviction that the sky, at least that of the red planet, is no longer. The limit, as NASA chief Steve Jurchick pointed out on Monday.
“We don’t know exactly where the creativity will take us, but today’s results indicate that the sky, at least on Mars, may not be the limit,” said Gurchik, acting director of the US space agency, after cheers strictly on control. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory room in California.
This Monday, for about 40 seconds, the tiny artifact weighing less than two kilograms rose from the surface of Mars to a height of about 3 meters and then descended without incident on Earth.
Thus culminated in the historic achievement of making the first controlled and operating flight of an aircraft on another planet after six years in operation, a moment which NASA equates with the achievement of the Wright brothers, who in 1903 made the first powered flight.
For this reason, what is the first airport outside Earth was baptized as Wright Brothers Field.
Underneath its rotors, the helicopter also carries a small piece of cloth from the wings of the American brothers’ plane, “in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continues to lead exploration,” as NASA Science Director Thomas Zurbuchen explained today.
Once flying, Ingenuity had time to take a black and white photo of its shadow over Mars, a visual record of the first of at least five it plans to make over the Martian air, scheduled for Thursday this week.
“What the Ingenuity team did was give us the third dimension,” said Michael Watkins, director of JPL NASA, at a post-flight press conference. “It freed us from the surface forever to explore.”
After Monday’s milestone, the executive added, NASA will be able to do a mixture of surface research, reconnaissance and “even scientific experiments in locations inaccessible to the probe.”
Company in case this morning’s flight is not easy. Although the red planet’s gravity is about one-third of that of the red planet, the atmospheric pressure at the surface is only 1% of the Earth’s pressure, so its blades had to spin much faster, at 2,537 revolutions per minute.
The 49 cm high Ingenuity does not contain any scientific instruments inside the cube-shaped fuselage, as its mission is in fact a test of future missions to Mars that may include aerial views of hard-to-reach areas. Therefore, it charges the sensors, cameras, and batteries.
Al momento de realizar el vuelo, que fue autónomo y por lo mismo no fue observable desde la Tierra en tiempo real, se hallaba a 64 metros del rover Perseverance, que registró el momento con una de sus cámaras y ejerció de enlace entre el helicóptero y Earth.
“It’s an unforgettable day,” said Mimi Ong, director of the innovation project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in the press room, after she showed a video of the full day’s trip, recorded by one of the persistence cameras, the rover, “It’s an unforgettable day.” .
This video was part of the data that the Ingenuity team at JPL, California, began receiving today, including flight confirmation at 3.46 a.m. Pacific local time (12:46 in Spain).
The feat of the small helicopter, which reached the belly of perseverance at the Jezero crater on February 18th, is “the latest in a long and historic tradition of NASA projects to achieve the goal of space exploration that was previously thought impossible”. Jurczyk highlights today.
The Executive Director highlighted the joint effort made by the various departments of the space agency, in what was a “unique complementarity” to the success of today’s mission.
Since it left its shelter in persistence and was placed on the surface of the crater on April 3, the helicopter mission will initially continue with 30 soles (Martian days), of which 16 were already.
As stated in the subsequent press conference, in the next few hours, the creativity team will continue to receive information, in addition to photos and videos, part of which was shown to the press today, after which they will decide whether the plane will start on Thursday. Be able to make his second trip.
Justin Mackie, a scientist on Team Perseverance, said this afternoon that the helicopter’s next flights will try to go “higher, farther and faster,” and that they hope some of them will be able to record sounds.
NASA scientists have no plans at the moment to send another helicopter to the red planet or another region of the solar system, a goal that creativity has made even more achievable today.
(C) The EFE Agency