Sunday, April 03, 2022

Ingenuity: First Mars Helicopter | NASA's Perseverance Rover Mission

A Tribute to Ingenuity: First Mars Helicopter | NASA's Perseverance Rover Mission

Ingenuity's flights have repeatedly proven its ability to fly in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, over a hundred million miles from Earth, without direct human control. Because radio signals take between 5–20 minutes to travel between Earth and Mars—depending on planetary positions—Ingenuity must operate autonomously, performing maneuvers planned, scripted and transmitted to it by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

For the first flight on April 19, 2021, Ingenuity took off, climbed to about 10 feet (3 meters) above the ground, hovered in the air briefly, completed a turn, and then landed. It was a major milestone: the very first powered, controlled flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, and, in fact, the first such flight in any world beyond Earth. After that, the helicopter successfully performed additional experimental flights of incrementally farther distance and greater altitude.

With its tech demo now complete, Ingenuity transitions to a new operations demonstration phase to explore how future rovers and aerial explorers can work together. As of March 24, 2022, Ingenuity has completed 23 flights. Data from Ingenuity helps the NASA's Perseverance Rover team find potential science targets.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was built by JPL, which also manages this technology demonstration project for NASA Headquarters. It is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics, and Space Technology mission directorates. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuity’s development. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, and SolAero also provided design assistance and major vehicle components. Lockheed Martin Space designed and manufactured the Mars Helicopter Delivery System.

Ingenuity's rotors measure 1.2 m (4 ft), and its entire body is 0.49 m (1 ft 7 in) tall. Its fuselage measures 13.6 cm × 19.5 cm × 16.3 cm (5.4 in × 7.7 in × 6.4 in), with four landing legs of 0.384 m (1 ft 3.1 in) each. It is operated by solar-charged batteries that power dual counter-rotating rotors mounted one above the other.

The Martian atmosphere is extremely thin—at the surface just about one percent of the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level.

Learn more about Ingenuity:

Ingenuity Fact Sheet:

Name: Ingenuity
Main Job: A technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.
Launch: July 30, 2020, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Landed: Feb. 18, 2021, Jezero Crater, Mars
Length of Mission: Technology demonstration complete; transitioned to new operations demo phase

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

Mission Name: Mars 2020

Rover Name: Perseverance

Main Job: Seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.

Launch: July 30, 2020    

Landing: Feb. 18, 2021, Jezero Crater, Mars

Mars Helicopter (Ingenuity) is now in an operations demo phase.

For more about Perseverance:

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Kevin M. Gill

Mars2020 - Sol 46 - Watson (White Balanced)

Release Date: April 1, 2022

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Mars #RedPlanet #Planet #Atmosphere #Jezero #Crater #Perseverance #Rover #Mars2020 #Sol46 #Robotics #Ingenuity #Helicopter #Ginny #Aircraft #Solar #History #Technology #Engineering #SolarSystem #Exploration #JPL #UnitedStates #Artemis #JourneyToMars #STEM #Education


  1. Mars Ingenuity Helicopter, 3D Model:

  2. First Video of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter in Flight, Includes Takeoff and Landing (High-Res)