Science and Nature

NASA’s Perseverance captures sharp flight by Mars helicopter

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
The flight mannequin of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Credit rating: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Video footage from NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s 13th flight on Sept. 4 offers essentially the most detailed look but of the rotorcraft in action.

Ingenuity is at the 2nd prepping for its 16th flight, scheduled to happen no earlier than Saturday, Nov. 20, but the 160.5-2nd Flight 13 stands out as surely one of Ingenuity’s most subtle. It enthusiastic flying into various terrain in the end of the “Séítah” geological characteristic and taking photos of an outcrop from a lot of angles for the rover crew. Got from an altitude of 26 feet (8 meters), the photos complement these serene in the end of Flight 12, offering priceless perception for Perseverance scientists and rover drivers.

Captured by the rover‘s two-camera Mastcam-Z, one video clip of Flight 13 presentations a majority of the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft’s flight profile. The loads of offers a closeup of takeoff and touchdown, which was once obtained as fragment of a science reveal meant to measure the mud plumes generated by the helicopter.

“The value of Mastcam-Z truly shines by method of with these video clips,” acknowledged Justin Maki, deputy most fundamental investigator for the Mastcam-Z instrument at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Even at 300 meters [328 yards] away, we accumulate a horny closeup of takeoff and touchdown by method of Mastcam-Z’s ‘right stumble on.” And whereas the helicopter is little bigger than a speck within the huge seek for taken by method of the ‘left stumble on,” it offers viewers a right feel for the scale of the atmosphere that Ingenuity is exploring.”






Video footage from the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover offers a mountainous-image point of view of the 13th flight of the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, on Sept. 4, 2021. Credit rating: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

In the future of takeoff, Ingenuity kicks up a minute plume of mud that the right camera, or “stumble on,” captures transferring to the right of the helicopter in the end of ascent. After its initial climb to planned maximum altitude of 26 feet (8 meters), the helicopter performs a minute pirouette to line up its coloration camera for scouting. Then Ingenuity pitches over, allowing the rotors’ thrust to delivery transferring it horizontally by method of the thin Martian air earlier than transferring offscreen. Later, the rotorcraft returns and lands within the neighborhood of the build it took off. The crew focused a special touchdown method—about 39 feet (12 meters) from takeoff—to steer clear of a ripple of sand it landed on at the completion of Flight 12.

Though the quest for from Mastcam-Z’s left stumble on presentations less of the helicopter and more of Mars than the right, the huge perspective offers a see of the odd system that the Ingenuity crew programmed the flight to originate positive success.

“We took off from the crater floor and flew over an elevated ridgeline earlier than dipping into Séítah,” acknowledged Ingenuity Chief Pilot Håvard Grip of JPL. “For the reason that helicopter’s navigation filter prefers flat terrain, we programmed in a waypoint shut to the ridgeline, the build the helicopter slows down and hovers for a 2nd. Our flight simulations indicated that this little ‘breather’ would attend the helicopter keep tune of its heading despite the loads of terrain adaptations. It does the identical on the tactic in which serve. It is awesome to in actuality accumulate to seem this occur, and it reinforces the accuracy of our modeling and our thought of be taught the solution to most absorbing characteristic Ingenuity.”






Video from the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captures a closeup seek for of the 13th flight of the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, on Sept. 4, 2021. Credit rating: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

The huge-perspective seek for also presentations how Ingenuity maintains altitude in the end of the flight. After an initial ascent to 26 feet (8 meters) altitude, the helicopter’s laser altimeter notes a substitute in elevation of the terrain below because it heads northeast in opposition to the ridgeline. Ingenuity automatically adjusts, climbing a little bit because it approaches the ridge and then descending to dwell 26 feet (8 meters) above the undulating surface. Once it flies to the right, out of seek for, Ingenuity collects 10 photos of the rocky outcrop with its coloration camera earlier than heading serve into frame and returning to land within the focused location.

After Flight 13, Ingenuity went aloof in October, alongside with NASA’s assorted Mars spacecraft in the end of Mars picture voltaic conjunction, when the Crimson Planet and Earth are on reverse facets of the Solar, precluding most communications. Following conjunction, Ingenuity performed a rapid experimental flight test earlier than project Flight 15, which began the multi-flight drag serve to the neighborhood of “Wright Brothers Field,” its place to delivery serve in April.



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NASA’s Perseverance captures sharp flight by Mars helicopter (2021, November 18)
retrieved 18 November 2021
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