Aeronautics on Mars NASA's Martian helicopter, Ingenuity, takes off


The Economist 21 April, 2021 - 07:00pm 11 views

When is Mars helicopter first flight?

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured this shot as it hovered over the Martian surface on April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. NASANASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight

Did the Mars helicopter fly?

ET on April 19—in the midafternoon local time on Mars—the helicopter successfully completed its first flight. ... NASA's Perseverance rover took a selfie on Mars with the Ingenuity helicopter on April 6. Perseverance then drove off to an overlook about 200 feet away to watch Ingenuity's flight attempt. National GeographicNASA Mars helicopter makes history as first vehicle to fly on another planet

Did ingenuity fly on Mars?

Ingenuity, NASA's first helicopter flight on another planet, flies autonomously and has special features to help it stay aloft in the thin Martian atmosphere. Transmits flight data to the Perseverance rover, which relays it via satellite to Earth. The Wall Street JournalNASA’s Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Makes Historic First Flight

When does the Mars helicopter take off?

On Monday (April 19), the ultra-lightweight robot will try taking off into the Martian sky and if it succeeds, this maneuver will be the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. Ingenuity is scheduled to take off at 3:30 a.m. EDT (0730 GMT) on Monday, but its flight controllers are wary. Space.comNASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity is ready to make its first flight attempt Monday

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Flying conditions on Mars are rather different from those on Earth. Though it has only a third of Earth’s gravity at its surface, which sounds as if it might make the task of flying there easier, Mars’s atmosphere has a mere hundredth of the density of Earth’s. This means there is little air to push against when attempting to fly. To compensate, Ingenuity’s blades spin five times faster than those of a typical helicopter on Earth.

To keep its flight stable with such fast-moving blades requires hundreds of adjustments a second, based on a stream of information from sensors aboard the aircraft. This complexity explains why the test flight, which was supposed to happen a week ago, was delayed. The project’s engineers identified software problems during a high-speed spin-test of the rotors, and these had to be fixed.

This article appeared in the Science & technology section of the print edition under the headline "The Wright stuff"

Read full article at The Economist

A small but mighty helicopter on Mars shows how much robots can do

The Washington Post 22 April, 2021 - 03:01pm

Much is made of the push and pull between the imperative to put humans on Mars or to return them to the moon. The White House under President Donald Trump opted for a lunar return, and President Biden is sticking to the plan. Certainly, there’s something romantic about expanding our worldly horizons ourselves rather than having machines do it for us. But, in many cases, those machines can make as many amazing discoveries, at far lower cost, and with far less risk. The Cassini space probe, for instance, stumbled on the building blocks of life on this planet while exploring one of Saturn’s moons; the Curiosity rover determined that ancient Mars had the right chemistry to support living microbes.

Ingenuity is a case study in what robots can do without much help from us. Flight controllers couldn’t operate it by a joystick even if they wanted to because it’s just too far away. They can only send commands in advance. Ingenuity, then, must be enterprising: performing its in-flight functions autonomously, and even figuring out how to keep itself warm at night. What’s more, the lower requirements, cost and overall stakes of this “technology demonstration” compared with more traditional all-or-nothing projects meant that researchers could try something new without worrying too much about what would happen if they failed. Now, a sideshow is center-stage in a multibillion-dollar pageant. Whether or not Ingenuity manages its coming milestones (16 feet high with a bit of horizontal travel is next up), the future could look different because of it. Imagine multiple Ingenuities working in tandem with a rover to identify out-of-reach areas for study, and in the meantime beaming their initial findings back to Earth.

When we think about the space program, we usually think big. Ingenuity and the scientists who came up with its boundary-breaking design remind us that one small step for a robot can be a giant leap for mankind.

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NASA flies a craft on another planet for the first time ever

CNBC Television 22 April, 2021 - 03:01pm

NASA Ingenuity helicopter takes off on first historic flight over Mars

CNET 22 April, 2021 - 03:01pm

Ingenuity, a NASA mini helicopter no heavier than a 2-liter bottle of soda, has pulled off the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The feat took place at 12:31 a.m. PT on Monday morning, but it wasn't until over three hours later that NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory received the first data from Mars.

The first flight is an impressive milestone in space exploration, paving the way for future missions on the red planet to utilize the skies, scouting new regions of the surface and surveying Mars' dusty, dead plains. 

Learning to fly on Earth was difficult enough, but flying on Mars was a grand engineering challenge. The Martian atmosphere is only 1% as thick as the Earth's, so a standard flier wouldn't cut it. NASA has now shown it was up to the task.

Ingenuity's shadow on the Martian surface. You can just the tracks left behind by the Perseverance rover.

"We've been talking for so long about our Wright brothers moment on Mars, and here it is," said Ingenuity Mars helicopter project manager MiMi Aung, after ripping up her contingency speech. "We can now say that humans have flown a rotorcraft on another planet."

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Ingenuity was not controlled by engineers on Earth during its attempt. Instead, commands were uploaded to the spacecraft that took it from preflight checks to powered flight in a matter of seconds. The rotor blades spun up to 2,537 rpm, about six times faster than an Earth-based craft. Six seconds after startup, Ingenuity's blades were able to generate lift by slicing through the tenuous atmosphere on the red planet.

You can rewatch NASA's livestream below.

The flight attempt had been delayed from its original target date of April 11 to give NASA time to update the machine's software after a spin test of the rotors ended too early. An issue with the "watchdog" timer prevented the helicopter from spinning up correctly, but Ingenuity's engineering team has corrected the problem. The solution, they said, allows for the chopper to "transition to flight mode and prepare for lift-off about 85% of the time." 

It's almost 120 years since Orville and Wilbur Wright got their experimental plane off the ground near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, documented in a famous black-and-white image of the flyer taken just moments after it left the ground.

A post-flight press briefing, scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. PT, will likely see the first images and videos downlinked for viewing. Notably, Perseverance, NASA's next-gen Mars rover and previous home for Ingenuity, was stationed just 200 feet away at a location known as Van Zyl Overlook. The rover likely captured the history-making flight with its Navcam and Mastcam-Z imagers. 

Ingenuity will have nabbed its own images, too, with black-and-white images used to navigate and color photographs beamed back to JPL's mission control later on Monday. We'll have those images on CNET as soon as they make it back to Earth.

With one successful flight under its belt, NASA's Ingenuity team isn't done. A series of increasingly difficult flights will be attempted in the coming weeks, pushing the limits of the tiny helicopter that could. A second flight has been scheduled for no earlier than April 22.

It may not have covered quite the same distance as the Wright brothers Kitty Hawk, but Ingenuity has opened a path to achieve feats just as stunning elsewhere in the cosmos. 

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.          

Ingenuity Google Search Easter Egg

Search Engine Roundtable 22 April, 2021 - 03:01pm

Search for [Ingenuity] in Google Search and you will get this super fun easter egg of the the robotic helicopter flying around Mars. The Ingenuity successfully completed the first known powered atmospheric flight, from vertical takeoff to landing, on any planet beyond Earth, on April 19, 2021.

Here is a video of it in action:

Satyajeet Salgar who is responsible for a lot of these easter eggs at Google said "I'm particularly kicked about this one."

And a closer look and Ingenuity from Google:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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