Mars: NASA’s Ingenuity drone today (19) became the first aircraft to make a controlled, motorized flight on another planet. The confirmation of the feat, which took place at 4:50 am (Brasília time) was carried out through a satellite on Mars, which transmitted the helicopter telemetry data to Earth.
The flight of Ingenuity is a great achievement for space engineering, mainly because the atmosphere on the planet Mars is so thin, that it is possible to develop a rotor-powered spacecraft, 290 million kilometers away, and take it to its destination in conditions of use and support, it was a huge challenge.
In order to take off in this atmosphere 100 times thinner than Earth’s, Ingenuity, which weighs less than two kilos, had to rotate its four carbon fiber blades at 2,500 revolutions per minute (rpm), an intensely faster acceleration than the 500 rpm that characterizes land-based drones.
This first Ingenuity flight was operated remotely from Earth, with crews controlling and sending commands at the most appropriate times to mark when the small helicopter should begin and end its brief 40-second journey through the Martian landscape. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, it was a small takeoff for a drone, but a big flight for humanity.