On Monday, the company reported that the helicopter had survived its first frigid night time outdoors of the Perseverance Mars rover atop the pink planet’s rocky floor.
In Jezero Crater, the place Perseverance landed nearly two months in the past, night temperatures can drop as little as minus 130 levels Fahrenheit.
At that temperature, unprotected electrical elements may have frozen or cracked and solar-powered batteries required for the deliberate check flights may have been broken within the course of.
NASA introduced final week that the primary of its most of 5 historic flights — inside a time restrict of 30 Martian days — can be tried by the four-pound helicopter no sooner than April 11.
Whereas Ingenuity initially obtained its cost from Perseverance, the autonomous rotorcraft will now depend on the solar to energy up.
Not like Perseverance, Ingenuity carries no scienctific devices.
Perseverance, which has a number of cameras and microphones for imaging and taking audio and video, will observe Ingenuity’s flight traits from the “Van Zyl Overlook” — named for longtime NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) mentor and colleague Jakob van Zyl, who handed away unexpectedly in August 2020.
Till then, Ingenuity will collect information concerning the efficiency of its thermal-control and energy techniques in an effort to make sure the automobile is ready to survive every night time throughout the size of the flight experiment interval.
On Wednesday, restraints which have secured its rotor blades can be launched and the next days will contain extra testing of the blades and the helicopter’s motor.
As well as, the crew at JPL should monitor Ingenuity’s onboard computer systems, photo voltaic array energy and 6 lithium-ion batteries and its inertial measurement unit: an digital gadget that measures a physique’s orientation and angular fee.
Then, the helicopter can be able to elevate off in its 33-by-33-foot “airfield.”
“That is the primary time that Ingenuity has been by itself on the floor of Mars,” MiMi Aung, Ingenuity mission supervisor at JPL, mentioned within the Monday launch. “However we now have affirmation that now we have the correct insulation, the correct heaters, and sufficient vitality in its battery to outlive the chilly night time, which is an enormous win for the crew.”
“We’re excited to proceed to organize Ingenuity for its first flight check,” she mentioned.