It’s been two weeks since the Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity Helicopter began their journey towards Mars. Despite some initial glitches that were faced at launch, everything has been going according to the plan, and NASA has been quite pleased by the launch.
The helicopter received a checkout and recharge of the power system as NASA experts wanted to see if everything works as expected. It is an important event since it is the first time when the spacecraft has been powered-up in space since launch.
Small but powerful
At a weight of four pounds (or two kilograms), the helicopter is a wonder of engineering as it contains off-the-shelf-partsa and custom-made components. For now, it is housed inside the Perseverance rover and is receives an energy rover’s power supply; however, it will be able to charge while flying with the help of solar panels.
If the helicopter manages to pass pre-flight checks, the team will deploy it and try to get it into the air as fastas possible. The check-up has revealed that Ingenuity handles current environmental conditions quite well, which is promising.
According to the objectives of the mission, NASA plans to launch and operate the helicopter into the atmosphere of Mars for 31 days. If these goals are completed successfully,Ingenuity will prove that powered and controlled flight of an aircraft is doable on Mars, a milestone that would facilitate future research missions towards the Red Planet.
As the interest in Mars continues to grow, more space agencies set their sights on the planet. Perseverance and Ingenuity will play an important role in scientific research, as they will be able to send back valuable information about the surface and atmosphere of the planet thanks to an array of sophisticated scientific tools and sensors.
The rover should land on Mars on February 18, 2021.