In 1903, Ville Rville and Wilbur Wright flew a 12-second, 120-foot plane in the air, now known as the first powered flight on Earth. Now, 118 years later, the first managed-controlled attempt to fly to another planet is about to take place.
According to NASA, the ingenuity – a four-pound rotorcraft, which is firmly attached – is heading to its “airfield” on Mars.
The space agency announced that the target for its first takeoff attempt would not be before April 8, 2021.
Ingenuity has been created as an experiment to see if it is possible to fly to Mars as we do here on Earth. And the process leading up to takeoff is very complicated. Consider how long the manned-controlled flight on Earth took humans; Given the thin atmosphere of Mars and the twenty-minute delay in communication, it is more challenging than the argument on Mars.
“Like everything with helicopters, this type of deployment has never been done before,” Mars Helicopter Integration Lead for Perseverance Rover Farah Alibe said in a press statement. “Don’t go back there once we start deploying.”
Every move over the next few weeks could create or break the ingenuity success – starting with the precise position of the rotorcraft in the middle of its 33-by-33 33-foot square airfield, which is really a flat area on the surface of Mars without any obstacles. From there, the whole deployment process from diligence will take about six Mars days, called Souls. (The Martian Soul is thirty minutes longer than Earth Day.)
Want more science fiction stories in your inbox? Subscribe to The Vulgar Scientist, the salon’s weekly newsletter.
The plan is that on one of its six-sol one, scientists on Earth will activate a bolt-breaking device, which, during a trip from Earth to Mars, will free the locks that hold the ingenuity on the perimeter’s abdomen. During the second sol, scientists will operate a “cable-cutting pyrotechnic device” to begin advancing the helicopter from its horizontal position; By cutting the cable to one side, to the other sole, the ingenuity will literally start pulling two of its four legs. On the third sole, a small electric motor will turn the ingenuity and bring it into a fully ical position. On the fourth soul, ingenuity will continue to decline. On the fifth Soul, scientists will charge the battery of ingenuity through perspiration as a solar-energy source. At this point, it will hang about 5 inches (13 centimeters) above the matian surface, connected to the perimeter by just a single bolt and a few small electrical contacts.
“Once we’ve cut the cord with speed and placed it on the final five-inch surface, we want to drive our big friend away as quickly as possible so we can get the sun’s rays onto our solar panels and start recharging our batteries.” Balaram, the chief engineer of the Mars helicopter at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.
From there, now is the time to see if ingenuity can take flight. The speed will be 16 feet away from the ingenuity, which will have 30 Martin Souls to run its test flight campaign.
It is very difficult to fly to Mars not only because of the difference in gravity from the Earth, but also because the atmosphere on Mars is only about 1 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. There are also sharp changes in temperature on Mars; During the day, the Red Planet receives half the amount of solar reach that reaches Earth. The night temperature drops to minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The ingenuity is small because it must weigh less to fly in the atmosphere, but it must have enough energy to retain power during a frozen night. There is a chance that even ingenuity cannot survive its first night alone.
“The step we’ve taken since this journey began six years ago is an unsafe area in the history of aircraft,” Balaram said. “And while deploying to the surface will be a big challenge, saving the first night on Mars alone, without rescuing the rover and keeping it operating, will still be a big one.”
But assuming, diligently through millions of controllers on Earth, its flight instructions, will be relayed to ingenuity. The plan is for ingenuity to run its rotors at 2,537 revolutions per minute, and then lift. If all goes well, it will spin at about three feet per second and land at Mars before it touches the ground and will rotate at 10 feet for 30 seconds. After a couple of test flights, the actual mission will begin.
“Mars is difficult,” Ang said. “Our plan is that whatever Red Planet does, we’ve handled the challenges we’ve faced over the last six years – together, with hard work and a lot of hard work and a little ingenuity.”
Notably, the creation of ingenuity allowed the first operated-controlled flight here on Earth.
According to NASA, a small piece of fabric used to cover one of the wings of the Wright Brothers aircraft is pulled to one side under the ingenious solar panels with the help of insulation tape. The Apollo 11 crew flew a separate piece of material during their historic 1969 lunar mission.
“Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test – we want to see if we can fly to Mars,” Ang said. “There are no science tools and no targets to get scientific information. We are confident that the engineering data we want to get on both the surface and offshore of Mars can happen in this 30-sol window.”