NASA has made particularly significant progress in space exploration in recent years. For Mars for example, it uses many rovers but also A remote-controlled helicopter (Ingenuity) made its first flight on the Red Planet on April 21, 2021.
Tests on two different planets: the first!
The Ingenuity helicopter continues its mission on the Red Planet by making regular flybys, allowing scientists to perfect their mastery of this flying machine piloted from Earth. but, againstThe machine was scheduled to make only five flights initiallymainly for Exam Technology straight to Mars.
But the Ingenuity program has proven to be much more flexible than the scientists responsible for the Mars mission initially imagined. In fact, today’s flight limit has since become just a distant memory This year it exceeded 50 tripsbreaking several speed and altitude records at the same time.
However, the future generation of reconnaissance helicopters is already in the pipeline on the ground side. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, engineers are currently testing an aircraft A new rotor system for future Martian helicoptersWhich means Therefore, this type of technology is being tested for the first time on two different planets, the first!
This new type of spinner features revolutionary blades Carbon fiberWhich prevents it from shaking too much due to weather turbulence and Which therefore limits the chances of it breaking. These new blades are longer and therefore more resistant than Ingenuity’s blades, allowing them to survive Speeds close to the speed of sound and up to 3500 rpmwhich is again much faster than the helicopters that are already on a mission to Mars.
In order to conduct tests in the best conditions most compatible with the Martian atmosphere, NASA scientists use a special facility called “ 25 feet long space simulator This enormous space allowsImitating atmospheric conditions From the red planet therefore This new generation of helicopters will be actively tested and will also be sent to Mars in the coming years.
Ingenuity continues its mission
While waiting for these new helicopters to fly above the surface of Mars, Ingenuity is actively continuing its exploration mission by flying at higher altitudes and speeds than ever before. today, In particular, these frequent flights provide valuable data about how helicopters work on Mars.
For example, faster flight allows you to cover more ground, but so can speed Disable navigation in Ingenuity, which uses a camera to track features of the surface it is flying over. To overcome this problem, the scientists responsible for the surveillance robot flew towards it Higher altitudesIt is a solution that will be used for the next generation of helicopters being prepared on the ground.
Ingenuity’s frequent flights provide important information for developing new helicopters from the ground. This may actually be the case in the future Cover a much larger area, Achieve much higher speeds Especially Areas that rovers cannot reach todayAllowing us to improve our knowledge of the Red Planet.
Speaking of which, NASA is planning more ambitious flights for the Ingenuity rover in the coming months, testing it in different ways and propelling it To its limits To collect as much information as possible. However, the risks taken are highly considered due Any accident or technical problem resulting from these future flights could result in the end of the missionOn-site ingenuity cannot be fixed.
In short, the tests conducted on Mars and on Earth of various exploration helicopters are A major advance in space exploration. This opens up new possibilities for studying the Red Planet (or even other planets in the future) that we never thought possible and is likely to bring to us Important discoveries in the fairly near future.