Daily News Analysis

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter

5th April, 2021 Health

Context: NASA's Ingenuity mini-helicopter has been dropped on the surface of Mars in preparation for its first flight.

About Ingenuity:

  • The ultra-light aircraft had been fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18.
  • It had been feeding off the Perseverance's power system but will now have to use its own battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night.
  • Ingenuity will be attempting to fly in an atmosphere that is one percent the density of Earth's, which makes achieving lift harder — but will be assisted by gravity that is one-third of our planet's.
  • Ingenuity will be taking high-resolution photography as it flies. Up to five flights of gradual difficulty are planned over the month.
  • Future aircraft could cover ground much quicker than rovers, and explore more rugged terrain.