The NASA Ingenuity mini-chopper, which was attached to the Persian rover on Mars in February, has just separated from it and is therefore now on the surface of the red planet, NASA announced.
“The helicopter from Mars is on the ground!”, Tweeted Saturday evening by the US Space Agency laboratory that manages the program.
This ultralight helicopter, which looks like a large drone, landed on Mars on 18 February, which had reached the bottom of the Perseverance Rover and had turned, and it was not until the rover reached where it should have been stolen. .
“The 293 million-mile (471 million km) journey ended with this tiny 4-inch (10 cm) jump from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars. Next test: Survive the night”, the lab Retweeted
A photo accompanying the tweet showed the persistence of walking away from the helicopter. He must completely clear his vision in less than 25 hours, as the helicopter will need to supply its solar panels with energy to the sun, and thus survive by heating itself during the frosty Martian nights. should be able.
Ingenuity has exhausted the Rover’s energy so far, but now it has to be changed for itself.
“There is a small radiator that allows the helicopter to maintain temperatures around 7 degrees Celsius, while at night temperatures on Mars can fall to -90 degrees,” explained Bob Balaram, chief engineer of the Mars helicopter project, on Friday.
“It helps protect the device’s core devices,” he said.
For the next two days, the ground crew will verify that the solar panels are operating as before, before testing the motor and sensors before the first flight, which is not expected until April 11.