NASA’s Ingenuity to make first flight attempt

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter of NASA is to make its first flight. With this, Ingenuity will make history of becoming the first controlled aircraft to fly in another planet.

Ingenuity Helicopter

  • The Ingenuity Helicopter is a part of the Mars 2020 Mission of NASA.
  • It will serve as a technology demonstrator for the potential use of flying probes in other worlds.
  • It was carried to the Martian surface by the Perseverance rover that landed at the Octavia Butler Landing site in Jezero crater.
  • The Ingenuity carries a piece of fabric from the wing of Wright Flyer. The Wright Flyer is the airplane of the Wright Brothers.

Challenges

The atmosphere of Mars is only one-hundredth as dense as that of the atmosphere of the earth. It is harder for an aircraft to generate a lift at such less dense atmospheric conditions. Such conditions are equivalent to the earth’s atmosphere at a height of 30,000 metres. The existing helicopters on the earth have never reached such a height. However, Ingenuity cleared all the tests that were held on the earth in 2019 in simulated Mars atmosphere.

Mars 2020

The Mars 2020 mission is a part of Mars Exploration Programme of NASA. It was launched from the earth in July 2020. It reached Mars in February 2021.

Mars Exploration Programme

The Mars Exploration Programme is an effort to explore planet Mars. It was initially formed in 1993. However, in 2013, due to 40% cut in NASA’s budget, the programme was reformulated. There are four major goals of Mars Exploration Programme. They are as follows:

  • To determine if life ever arose on Mars
  • To characterize the climate of Mars
  • To characterize the Geology of Mars
  • To prepare for the Human Exploration of Mars

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