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NASA's Ingenuity lifts off in historic first flight on Mars

Christian Science Monitor | Science

NASA's experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet. The triumph was hailed as a Wright brothers moment. The mini 4-pound copter even carried a bit of wing fabric from the Wright Flyer that made similar history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. It was a brief hop – just 39 seconds and 10 feet – but accomplished all the major milestones. It looks just the way we had tested," project manager MiMi Aung said as she watched the flight video during a later briefing. I don't think I can ever stop watching it over and over again."


NASA shares bird's-eye-view photo of Perseverance taken by Ingenuity

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has shared a'bird's eye view' image of the Perseverance rover, taken by the Ingenuity helicopter as it soared above the Martian surface. In a tweet, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) team said: 'I spy with my little eye…a rover,' sharing the image with Perseverance visible in the top left corner. It was taken during the third flight of the autonomous copter that happened on April 25 and saw it fly to an altitude of 16ft and travel for 64ft before landing again. At the peak it was moving at 6.6ft per second, or 4.5 miles per hour. In contrast, the Perseverance rover, captured in the latest images, travels at 0.1 miles per hour. Ingenuity is a technical demonstration, with no science experiments on board, as it is designed to prove a flying vehicle could be used on the Red Planet.


NASA unlocks the 'blades of glory' on its Mars Ingenuity helicopter

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has unlocked the'blades of glory' on its Ingenuity helicopter ahead of the small rotorcraft's maiden flight on Mars this weekend. The space agency called the reveal of the chopper blades'mind-bottling' in reference to a quote from the Will Ferrell ice skating movie'Blades of Glory'. In a short clip shared on Twitter, the 4ft wide blades can be seen slowly unlocking on top of the tiny 19 inch tall helicopter, ahead of a'spin up' test in the coming days. Ingenuity is set to take its first flight on April 11, which will see the copter take off, hover in place and then return for landing. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the team leading the Perseverance mission, tweeted: 'The blades of glory, aka rotor blades of the #MarsHelicopter, have been unlocked and are ready for testing.' The blades of glory, aka rotor blades of the #MarsHelicopter, have been unlocked and are ready for testing.


NASA's Ingenuity helicopter moves its blades before its maiden flight

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has managed to spin its blades to 50 revolutions per minute (RPM) in preparation for its maiden flight on Mars this weekend. The space agency shared a short animation, captured by cameras attached to Ingenuity's parent craft Perseverance, of the blades rotating. Takeoff of the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) robotic helicopter, already detached from the Perseverance rover, is now slated for this Sunday (April 11). If successful, Ingenuity, which has become affectionately known as'Ginny', will be the first powered and controlled flight of an aircraft on any planet other than Earth. Ingenuity carries a small amount of fabric that covered one of the wings of the Wright brothers' aircraft, known as the Flyer, during the first powered, controlled flight on Earth in 1903.


NASA reveals enhanced side-by-side videos from Ingenuity's first flight

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has revealed a new'motion filter' video of the history-making Ingenuity helicopter flying on Mars showing just where the dust travelled around the craft. While Ingenuity was sent to the Red Planet as a'technical demonstration' with no science mission of its own, NASA says it could help scientists better understand how dust travels through the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The video, shot by the Mastcam-Z camera on the Perseverance rover, reveals plumes of Martian dust made by Ingenuity upon takeoff and landing. After the successful flight on Monday April 19, NASA named the airfield that hosted the takeoff the'Wright Brothers Field' in honour of the aeroplane inventors. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) say they will now be pushing the 4lb helicopter'to the limit' in a series of future flights between now and early-May. While Ingenuity was sent to the Red Planet as a'technical demonstration' with no science mission of its own, NASA says this could help scientists better understand how dust travels through the atmosphere of the Red Planet The main purpose of Mastcam-Z, a camera mounted on a mast attached to Perseverance, is to take photos and video in high definition.