What is Ingenuity Mars Helicopter?

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What is Ingenuity Mars Helicopter? Blog Image


NASA has re-established contact with its Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, the US space agency said recently.

About Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

  • It is a small, autonomous aircraft. that flew to Mars aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover.
  • It was sent to Mars to perform experimental flight tests to determine if powered, controlled flight at the Red Planet was possible.
  • Ingenuity’s mission is experimental in nature and completely independent of the rover’s science mission.
  • Ingenuity was deployed to the surface on April 4, 2021.
  • On April 19, it became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. 
    • It rose to a height of 10 feet, hovered for 30 seconds, and then descended back to the ground.
    • The flight lasted 39.1 seconds. 
    • It managed to fly in Mars’ thin atmosphere, which isn’t conducive for flying.
  • It’s piloted by onboard guidance, navigation, and control systems running algorithms.
  • Perseverance acts as a relay between the chopper and the earth.

Key Facts about Perseverance Rover

  • It is a robotic explorer to land on Mars as part of NASA’s ongoing Mars 2020 Mission.
  • Main Job: Seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.
  • The rover will collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in tubes, and leave them on the planet's surface to be returned to Earth at a future date.
  • Launch: It was launched on July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • Landing: Successfully landed on the surface of Mar's Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
  • Features:
    • It is about 3 metres long, 2.7 metres wide, and 2.2 metres tall.
    • It is about the size of a car but weighs only about 1,025 kilograms with all instruments on board.
    • Power source: Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). 
  • Converts heat from the radioactive decay of plutonium into electricity.

Q1) What is regolith? 

Regolith, a region of loose unconsolidated rock and dust that sits atop a layer of bedrock. On Earth, regolith also includes soil, which is a biologically active medium and a key component in plant growth. Regolith serves as a source of other geologic resources, such as aluminum, iron, clays, diamonds, and rare earth elements.

Source: NASA Re-Establishes Contact With Ingenuity Helicopter On Mars After Outage