NASA received a black and white photo that the helicopter took with its shadows while in flight.
A small NASA innovation helicopter made history on Monday by making the first controlled and powered flight of an aircraft on another planet, Mars.
The JPL-NASA team, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, responsible for mission control from California, reported direct receipt of data that confirmed it took off, floated and landed again at the Jezero crater on Mars.
In addition, a black and white photograph taken by the helicopter of its shadow while in flight, and a small video tape recorded by the persistent rover, which is still several meters away and acts as a communication link, was received.
Confirmation that the small machine (weighing 1.8 kg) passed a very difficult test with honors came at 10:46 GMT.
The solar-powered helicopter took off at 12:33 local solar time on the surface of Mars (07:34 GMT), ascended to its maximum specified altitude of 3 meters, and flew for 30 seconds to land and touch the surface again. A total of 39.1 seconds of flight.
The 278 million kilometers separating the two planets makes it impossible to get live data – the delay is about 15 minutes – which is why Ingenuity got the instructions yesterday, but today he had to manage the flight himself.
After receiving the data, the JPL-NASA team burst into cheers, applause and joy behind the masks.
“We can now say that a human has been able to fly for the first time on another planet,” said Mimi Ong, Director of the Innovation Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I embrace all of his mates.
Taking a trip on Mars is no easy task. Although the gravity is about a third of our gravity, the atmospheric pressure at the surface is only 1% of the Earth’s pressure, so its blades had to rotate much faster, that is, 2537 revolutions per minute.
The entire operation was closely followed by the rover, which carried the helicopter to Mars in its “guts” and secured its communications. “You can’t imagine what you just saw,” he wrote on his personal Twitter page, accompanied by gifs showing the flight, and he recorded it in color.
JPL highlighted in a tweet that “robotic flying and controlling it from the surface of another planet is possible. It takes a little creativity, perseverance and spirit to make this opportunity a reality.”
It was the first time, but not the last that I had tried. His mission will take 30 suns (Mars days), during which he can fly five more times, and as the Olympic emblem says, he will try to make it higher (up to five meters) and more.
To create an atmosphere of fragility, with a wingspan of 1.2 meters, consisting of a small cube-shaped body containing sensors, cameras and batteries; Two pairs of carbon fiber blades, one on top of the other, above it an antenna, a small solar panel, and four thin legs for seating.
NASA ran a live broadcast from the JLP room where the data was received. At 10.40 GMT, the engineer in charge of reception, known as Michael, announced the “beginning to see the data” being terse and neutral, and quickly “looking nominal.”
The tension began for a few minutes as they entered and analyzed what had been received from Mars: telemetry, battery, and phone camera report, the engineer kept saying in the same tone that did not reveal any emotion.
Finally, NASA confirmed that “the data reveal that the helicopter made a successful first flight.”
Creativity does not carry any scientific tool, because it is a proof of concept, and technological proof of the possibility of flying on the red planet, which will allow to gain knowledge and experience for future missions that may contain flying devices.
NASA compared this company to the achievement of the Wright brothers in 1903, when they made their first powered flight. In fact, creativity wears a small piece of cloth from that plane’s wings under its rotors, and Ong remembers it today as well.
Throughout the day, NASA will provide a press conference with more details about the helicopter flight, which wrote a page in the history of space, because it was written on the wall of the JPL room, they dared to do powerful things. (I)