Mars helicopter – level 3
On April 8, 2021, NASA is targeting for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at a powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.
Ingenuity remains attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover that touched down on Mars on February 18. On March 21, the rover deployed a shield that protected Ingenuity during landing. Currently, the rover is in transit to the place where Ingenuity will attempt to fly.
However, flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth because Mars has about one-third of Earth’s gravity, and its atmosphere is 1% as dense as Earth’s at the surface. During Martian daytime, the planet receives only about half the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth during its daytime, and nighttime temperatures can drop as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius, which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components.
If successful, Ingenuity could expand the horizons and broaden the scope of what is possible with Mars exploration.
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