Joon Lee / Staff reporter
The atmosphere on Mars is extremely thin. It is about 1% of the density here on Earth. And it means the helicopter need 100 times more power to flight. Taking off from the surface of Mars is comparable to flying at an altitude of 100,000 feet on Earth. No helicopter on our planet has flown that high, and it’s more than two times the typical flying altitude of jetliners.
However, In NASA they invent the helicopter for the mars. It names ingenuity.
The pull of gravity on the Red Planet is less, which helps, but even so engineers have had to build their chopper very light. It has a mass of just 1.8kg.
The two 1.2m-long rotors spin in opposite directions at up to 2,500rpm. This is extremely fast; the rotor tips will be moving at about two-thirds of the speed of sound on Mars. This should provide the lift Ingenuity needs.
But why the flight in Mars is important?
“You can traverse places without being hindered by the terrain in the same way as a land-based vehicle is,” explains Havard Grip, Ingenuity’s chief pilot.
Before ingenuity helicopter was introduced to the world, the planets were explored using a probe that based on land. But it has many disadvantages. This vehicle gets many influences of the terrain. If the mountain on the planet is too high, or some planet may don’t have a land on there.
But the ingenuity helicopter can be able to use in any terrain. So, it is more easily to exploration for any planet.
One of reason that difficult for the flight in the Mars is wind. Nasa has been keeping an eye on the winds in Jezero. These could measure up to 20m per second – faster than what was tested on Earth. But the team believes the helicopter will cope.
The hope is this small technology demonstration could eventually transform how we explore some distant worlds.
NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter achieves first powered, controlled flight on another planet
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