Sunday, April 14, 2024

Technical malfunction of the creativity helicopter on Mars

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
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(Washington) NASA, which said it is analyzing the data and planning a new attempt on Friday, said the fourth flight of an Ingeneti helicopter to Mars scheduled for Thursday did not take place because the spacecraft did not take off.

France Media

Data are received […] The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the US Space Agency said in a statement that Thursday morning shows that the helicopter did not perform its fourth flight as planned. She explained that she “did not enter flight mode, which is required for the flight.”

“The helicopter is in good health,” and this delay “does not prevent future flights,” but NASA was reassured. A fresh attempt will be made on Friday at 10:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time), but the first data won’t hit Earth until around 1:30 PM.

The helicopter was to fly longer (117 seconds) compared to its third flight on Sunday (80 seconds), by covering a greater and faster distance (3.5 meters per second instead of 2 meters per second).

So this fourth test should start pushing creativity to its limits after three successes, the first being on April 19, with a hovering that was the first for a robotic vehicle on another planet.

“Remember that the helicopter team on Mars has already achieved the goals associated with this display technology,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Associate Director of Science, wrote shortly after the aborted test was announced. “They have proven that it is possible to fly on Mars!”

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A huge challenge, because the density of Mars’ air is only 1% of that of Earth’s atmosphere.

That is why NASA had to design a lightweight (1.8 kg) machine, which actually resembles a large drone, and its blades rotate much faster than those of a regular helicopter.

The genius arrived on the red planet on February 18th in the Perseverance rover, after which he unscrewed the hook.

The creativity window has been reduced for this fourth, and possibly fifth, expedition. After a month devoted to this experiment, which will end in early May, NASA announced that it will focus on the main goal of perseverance for the coming years: to search for traces of ancient life on Mars.

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