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  5. Ingenuity has successfully made the first flight: here are the first images

Ingenuity has successfully made the first flight: here are the first images



Ingenuity has successfully made the first flight: here are the first images

At 12:52 p.m. on Monday, April 19, 2021, the team at the Jet Proprulsion Laboratory received the data regarding the success of the Ingenuity helicopter in his first controlled flight and motorized independently on another planet. The helicopter took off successfully from the Martian surface a little while ago, despite the difficulties that the team has had in recent days.

The data took some time to reach our planet as Mars is 401 million km away. On average they are it takes about 4 hours for the data to reach Earth from the Red Planet. But now NASA has successfully received the data from Ingenuity and we have confirmation that the flight took place and Ingenuity successfully hovered 10 feet above the surface of Mars and landed successfully.

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The important mission of Ingenuity

Ingenuity is a high-tech experiment, which it will lead space exploration to overcome its limits, learning to manage, plan and design a future in which we will be able to fly over the surface of Mars with ever larger and more sophisticated helicopters. The future of Martian observation could therefore include one new generation of explorers, helicopterswhich perhaps will precede or accompany man in his exploration of Mars.

The mission is unique in its kind, never before had anything like this been attempted, for this reason NASA states: “we take risks that other missions do not take and we must carefully evaluate each step “.

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The technical problems of last week

Over the past week, Ingenuity has had a few minor issues and the mission team has been working hard to test the two solutions to solve the “watchdog” timer problem. This system in fact prevented the helicopter from switching to “flight mode” and performing the rotor rotation test at high speed on April 9th.

The two solutions, each of which has been verified for in-flight useare, the first to adjust the command sequence from Earth and slightly alter the timing of this transition and modify and reinstall existing flight control software.

As Taryn Balley, Ingenuity mechanical engineer explained, “the first solution requires adding some commands to the sequence of flight operations and has been tested on both Earth and Mars. From testing this solution on Ingenuity over the past few days, we know that this approach will likely allow us to switch to flight mode and prepare for takeoff about 85% of the time. This solution leaves the helicopter safe if the transition to flight mode is not completed. “

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“This solution is the least destructive for an Ingenuity which, until we identified the watchdog problem, behaved exactly as we expected. It is the simplest, since it is not necessary to change its configuration. “

The great success of Ingenuity, the flight to another planet

And the solutions adopted by the team seem to have worked successfully. The mission control center at NASA’s JPL has officially started reception and download of data at 12: 39approximately eleven minutes after the data download finished and at 12:50 it was confirmed that Ingenuity was in good condition and working. At 12:52 pm confirmation of the success of the flight arrived and the first images of this extraordinary moment.

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The first image was taken from Ingenuity’s onboard camera, while the second from Perseverance’s Mastcam Z. In reality that of Perseverance is a short video showing a few moments of flight and the helicopter landing.

The maneuver of ignition of the blades, take-off, flight, landing and stopping of the blades of Ingenuity was therefore successful and the human being made his first controlled flight to another planet.

A moment that deeply moved the entire mission team and represents a milestone in the history of space exploration by man.

Ph. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.