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After proving flight on Mars, NASA’s smart helicopter has a new mission.

Selfie of persistence with ingenuity.

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance takes a selfie with an Ingenuity helicopter seen from the rover approximately 13 feet (3.9 meters) .This image was taken by the WASTON camera on the rover’s robotic arm on April 6, 2021. Which is the 46th Tuesday or the Sol of the mission. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS.

Red Planet will shift focus from possible flight proof Mars To demonstrate the flying operations that future flying vehicles can take advantage of.

NASAIngenuity Mars Helicopter has a new mission after it has been proven that propulsion and control flight is possible on the Red Planet. How can Earth and other functions benefit the exploration of Mars and other worlds in the future?

This new phase will begin after the next two helicopter flights have been completed. The decision to add an operational demonstration is the result of the Perseverance rover released prematurely, with a thorough review of the entire vehicle system since landing on February 18, and a scientific team has chosen a crater bed in the vicinity. Close for the first detailed survey. With Mars Helicopter’s telecommunication power and in-flight navigation system outperforming expectations, there is an opportunity for the helicopter to further explore its capabilities with demonstrations of operations without having any significant impact on the helicopter. Rover timing

“The demonstration of Ingenuity technology has been very successful,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, assistant administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “As intelligence continues to be healthy, we plan to use it to benefit the gondola in the future. While prioritizing and moving forward with the Perseverance rover team’s close-range scientific goals. ”

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopters

The shadow of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen in an image taken by a black and white navigation camera during the third flight on April 25, 2021.Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

The demonstration of operations will begin in about two weeks with the sixth helicopter flight. In the meantime, intelligence will be in a transitional phase that includes the fourth and fifth attacks on Mars’ crimson sky. The fourth flight will send the rotor approximately 436 feet (133 meters) south to collect aerial images of the potential new landing zone before returning to the Wright Brothers Field, where it is. The name of the airport on Mars, where Ingenuity’s first flight took place. This 873 ft (266 m) round-trip effort would exceed the speed limit and the duration achieved on the third flight. The ingenuity is programmed to operate the fourth flight on Friday, starting at 10:46 a.m. EDT (7:46 a.m. PDT, 12:30 a.m. local time Mars), and It will return the first information at 1:39 PM EDT (10:39 AM PDT), the fifth flight will send a one-way mission intelligence, landing at a new site. If the intelligence remains healthy after those flights, the next steps can begin.

Course changes

Ingenuity’s transformation from a technology demonstration to an operational demonstration brought a new flying envelope with it. In addition to one-legged flights, there will be more precise maneuvering, greater use of aerial observation capabilities and greater overall risk.

The change also means that Ingenuity will need less support from the Perseverance rover team, which is looking for a target to collect rock and sediment samples in search of ancient microscopic organisms on April 26 – the 66th day of the mission or Tuesday. – Perseverance, drive 33 feet (10 meters) with a target to identify a target.

“With a short drive, we started moving south to a place where the scientific team believed it was worthy of our initial investigation and sampling,” said Ken Farley, a Land Rover project scientist. “We will continue to spend a few hundred in our first scientific campaign to find interesting rocks that have surfaced on the crater floor.” 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) before heading north and west into the Fossil Delta of Jezero Crater. ”

With an expected short drive for Perseverance in the near future, Ingenuity may perform a flight landing close to the rover’s current location or the expected next stop. Helicopters can use these opportunities to perform aerial observations of the rover’s scientific targets, possible rover’s routes and inaccessible features, while simultaneously capturing stereo images for the altitude maps. Digital The lessons learned from these efforts will be of great benefit to future mission planners. These scout flights are a bonus and not a requirement for persistence to accomplish any science mission.

Flight cadence during Ingenuity’s operational demonstration phase is slowed from every few days to approximately every two or three weeks, and attacks are scheduled to avoid interfering with Perseverance’s scientific operations, the team will assess. Operation flies after 30 seconds and will complete the flight no later than the end of August. The timeline will give the rover team time to summarize the planned scientific activities and prepare for solar integration, the mid-October period when Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun, disrupting communication.

“We admire the support of the Perseverance rover team during the demonstration phase of our technology,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity program manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.JPLIn Southern California, “we now have the opportunity to pay it forward, demonstrating the benefits of having a future partner and even having a teammate that can give a different perspective. We’ll take this opportunity and run with it – and fly with it. ”

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