NASA has accomplished a great feat in Mars exploration. The agency has successfully tested the first controlled flight of a helicopter on the Red Planet. This is the first time when any agency has tested such a flight on another planet. The Mars helicopter is names Ingenuity. Ingenuity, a mini helicopter, took off a few feet from Mars’ surface. The helicopter flew for about 30 seconds. It landed on the surface safely after the flight. The Ingenuity team said that the test was executed as planned. The team announced that it will make another experimental flight. The next flight will involve a greater altitude and farther distance. Ingenuity’s experimental flight is a demonstration of technology that will redefine the scientific approach towards the Earth’s neighbor.
Ingenuity arrived at Mars in February this year with NASA’s Perseverance rover. The helicopter was attached to the rover’s belly. It weighs 1.8 kg. NASA has 30 Martian days to conduct test flights. The team said that the helicopter’s journey began six years ago. It added that team members expect Ingenuity to deliver promising results during the next flight. Ingenuity has a battery-powered system. The helicopter’s survival during the Martian was the first major challenge. Its system, however, managed to keep the helicopter’s body warm. The night temperature on the planet poses a threat to Ingenuity’s instruments that are not protected. The night temperature can freeze and damage its electrical components as it has not enough power to keep running the heater.
NASA said that an interrupted power supply is a denting task because Martian nights are very chilling and the planet’s surface receives solar energy almost half of the Earth. NASA said that Ingenuity’s controlled flight adds a new chapter to humans’ efforts to search for life beyond Earth. A flight on Mars is a new milestone in pushing the plan for human exploration of the planet. Mars’ atmosphere is very thin. The Red Planet’s gravitational force is almost a third that of Earth’s. NASA is the only world agency that has landed and operated several rovers on Mars. Mars is said to be a promising destination for scientists in search of life. It counts fourth in the sequence from Sun and the first after Earth. Mars zips around the Sun in about 687 Earth days.