• Daniyar Kylyzhov

Helicopter "Ingenuity" successfully survives the first Martian night offline

Helicopter "Ingenuity" stands on its flat landing area measuring 10x10 meters on the surface of Mars. Photo source: NASA .

April 5, 2021 specialists of the laboratory NASA's Jet Propulsion (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL) reported that small UAV " Indzhenyuiti " (eng. Ingenuity, "Ingenuity"), who came to Mars as part of the rover's "Perseverance" survived the first Martian night offline. Its onboard systems withstood an external temperature of about -90 ° C. The helicopter is now recharging its batteries on its own.

JPL engineers confirmed that the insulation of the Ingenuity main module withstood the lowered external temperature, its heaters worked normally, and the UAV's battery was enough for the night and for part of the day to transmit telemetry before charging.

NASA is currently preparing the helicopter for its maiden flight. Over the next two days, Ingenuity will collect information on how well the thermal management and power systems are performing. This information will be used by JPL engineers to fine-tune the thermal management system to help the UAV survive the harsh Martian nights throughout the 30 Sol (Martian days) flight experiment.

On April 7, NASA plans to unlock the restraints holding the rotor of the blades and begin testing the engines. The inertial measuring unit (gyrostabilizer), navigation system, and laser altimeter will also be tested. Over the course of 4 days, NASA will also monitor the characteristics of the helicopter's power system, including the power parameters of the solar panels and the state of charge of the six lithium-ion batteries.

The first flight of the Martian helicopter should take place on the evening of April 11. It is planned to last about 30 seconds. The UAV is programmed to independently rise vertically a few meters, hover, and then gently descend back to the surface. NASA employees will receive and publish the first footage of this flight on April 12. The Perseverance rover will also monitor the helicopter's flight from a distance.

The full 3D model of the Ingenuity Martian helicopter is available at this link, you can view small details of the device by zooming in and see all the main components of the UAV - a sealed module (with batteries, engines, heating system, and a computer), rotors, supports, solar panel, installed on top of the screws.

On April 4, the Ingenuity helicopter successfully separated from the rover and landed from a height of 10 cm to the planet's surface.

Photo taken by the helicopter on-board camera during the detachment maneuver from the rover.




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