NASA performed its first test flight on Mars with its helicopter named Ingenuity. The small aircraft, rising 3 meters from the ground, remained in the air for 40 seconds. Thus, NASA was the first to fly on a planet other than Earth in an aircraft. This flight is important as it reveals a new way to facilitate the exploration of different planets.
The helicopter, which weighed about 2 kilograms, took off at noon compared to Mars. The two blades of the helicopter spin at 2500 RPM to keep the helicopter in the air in the very thin atmosphere of Mars. In the world, 500 RPM speed is enough for this.
Ingenuity went to Mars on February 18 in NASA’s spacecraft named Perseverance. On April 4, the five-flight test schedule for the helicopter, which was removed from the spacecraft and placed on the surface of the planet, began to run.
NASA announced the success of Ingenuity’s first test flight with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory unit’s announcement. Engineer Michael Starch stated that Ingenuity made its first flight on another planet. Ingenuity’s project manager, MiMi Aung, announced that humanity has managed to fly a propeller-driven vehicle on another planet.
The black-and-white photo taken with the Ingenuity’s sub-camera is important in terms of showing that the helicopter has taken off. Shortly thereafter, Perseverance sent a series of photos to Earth showing Ingenuity moving about 100 meters away from him.
NASA had planned to perform the first test flight with a Mars helicopter on April 11th. However, the flight was delayed due to a problem detected in the software. Re-installing the software in this process, NASA will share all the frames shot by Ingenuity in the following days.