NASA has delayed the first flight of its miniature helicopter to Mars for several days, the US space agency announced on Saturday (April 10) due to a technical problem during testing of its rotors. The ingenious voyage – the first flight of a motorized vehicle to another planet – was scheduled for Sunday. The operation has been suspended until at least April 14.
The high-speed test of the rotor of the 1.8 kg helicopter was completed earlier than expected, with a warning of possible trouble.
“Helicopter crew looks at telemetry to diagnose and understand problem”NASA said in a statement. “Following that, they will reprint the test at full speed.” NASA clarified that the helicopter “Safe and sound” He has sent information to Earth.
Initially, the plan for Sunday was to fly ingenuity for thirty seconds, with the helicopter attached to its base touching Mars on February 18 to take a photo of the Perseverance rover.
NASA says the unprecedented move is too risky, but it could allow it to gather invaluable data on the living conditions on Mars. Flight is a real challenge because, due to the atmospheric properties of the Red Planet, the speed at which the sharp blades rotate must be higher than Earth.
Five flights are planned
The helicopter will send technical data to the rover of diligence, which will be sent to Earth. In this first data, a black and white photograph of the ground was ingeniously taken at a high angle, after which its batteries were recharged, while the latter sent a color photograph of the horizon.
But the most spectacular images have to come from diligence, are kept under observation several meters away, and they have to shoot the plane. If successful, a second operation may occur four days later. In all, up to five aircraft are planned, with increasing difficulty, and the helicopter rising to a height of 5 meters and then moving sideways is one of NASA’s objectives.
The first of the planned operations was in 1903, by the Wright brothers, the equivalent of the first flight of a motor vehicle to Earth on Mars. A piece of cloth and even ingenuity has been placed from this plane that took off a century ago in North Carolina, USA.
Whatever happens, after a maximum of a month, the ingenious mission ends, leaving the rover of perseverance to dedicate itself to its main task: to search for traces of ancient life on Mars.