Jackson Tait/edge reporter
As of today, NASA has officially flown a helicopter on mars. This is the first time anything like this has happened since the Wright brothers first flew a plane in 1903. It was a long seven years of designing and testing before the Ingenuity was able to make it on to mars and off the ground with at least one problem popping up every week.
This 4-lb helicopter was being called a “high risk high reward technology demonstration” by NASA and it had small piece of fabric that was once part of the wright brother’s plane as a small tribute.
MiMi Aung was the leader of a team at Cal Tech that made this dream a reality by putting solar panels on the rotor blades as way to power the helicopter. The team also faced many issues with the weight because the atmosphere on mars is 1% of thickness it is on earth, so they had to make in very small.
Since mars is so far from earth (280 million kilometres) the team that controlled the helicopter was not able to see any data that showed that it had made it off the ground for nearly three hours. The helicopter hovered above the ground for 39 seconds about 10 feet off the ground.
There could be close to 5 more flights planned before the end of May that could possibly lead to a fleet of martian drones patrolling and observing on mars in the years to come. The team must finish they are tests by this deadline because the mars rover as its own mission that it must get back to which is to collect rock samples that could possibly contain remnants of past martian life.
“A whole new way to explore alien terrain in our solar system is now at our disposal” said Nottingham Trent University astronomer Daniel Brown.
After the first test flight of the ingenuity the team has stated that the test was flawless, and everything is in perfect condition for the next experiments coming up.