Ingenuity Helicopter: Things To Know About The Mars Helicopter

NASA has created history by successfully flying Ingenuity, the mini-helicopter on Mars, the first powered flight on another planet.

NASA conducted an essay contest in the United States in 2019 to pick a name for Perseverance’s (the new American rover of Mars) helicopter.  Vaneeza Rupani, a student from Alabama wrote in her essay,  “Ingenuity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things, and it allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the universe.”  Thus, the helicopter got its name from Rupani’s essay. Read on to find out more about the Red planet’s first mini-helicopter.   

Mars 2020 Mission

The Perseverance rover constitutes eight instruments, and the Ingenuity helicopter is essentially one of them. It intends to undertake experiments on Mars, associated with science and technology. The primary objective of ingenuity is to separate itself from the Perseverance rover and fly about independently. The rover is supposed to land at Jezero Crater on February 2021 and access the terrain of the planet that cannot be reached by the rovers. Ingenuity lifted from the surface for the first time on April 19, 2021.

A Surprising Piece Of History

One month after Ingenuity reached Mars, NASA declared a surprise. Under the solar panel of the helicopter, a cable is wrapped around with a small swatch of fabric that was once part of the wing of the flyer, flown by the Wright Brothers in 1903.

The Chief Engineer Of Ingenuity Is An Alumnus Of IIT Madras

Recently it has come to light that Bob Balaram, an alumnus of IIT Madras, is the chief engineer of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter. Balaram has been associated with NASA for twenty years.

Engineering Marvel

The first goal of the robot rotorcraft was to withstand the launch from the earth and to cruise through space and land on the Red planet. Next, it had to be unlocked and deployed on the Martian terrain, while the Perseverance rover drove away quickly enough to ensure the prevention of casting a shadow over the Ingenuity to enable charging up of the helicopter’s solar panels.

Ingenuity Is Designed For A Flight Test

Ingenuity is a technological demonstration. In other words, it is a project that aims to test a novel capability, with limited scope. The robot rotorcraft is featured with four carbon-fiber blades that are specially designed for Ingenuity. It has two rotors that spin in opposite directions at nearly 2,400 revolutions per minute, several times faster than a passenger helicopter on earth. It is a separate experiment from the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and it involves the collection of rock samples from the planet for 30 Martian days and its eventual return to earth.

Do you think the Ingenuity helicopter will change the exploration pattern on Mars?

Back to top button