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Martian helicopter Ingenuity unloaded to the surface of the Red Planet and prepares for the night
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity touches the surface of the Red Planet after being dropped from its parent rover Perseverance, the space agency officially announced today. A little over a week is left before the first flight of the helicopter.
«Installation of the Martian helicopter on the ground has been confirmed! His journey of 471 million kilometers aboard the «Perseverance» ended today with a final drop from a 10-cm height from the belly of the rover to the surface of Mars, — wrote representatives of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. — Next task? Survive the night «.
The fact is that the surface temperature of the Red Planet drops at night to -90 ° C. By the way, before unloading «Ingenuity» on the surface of Mars, the rover charged the helicopter batteries to 100%. After that, the rover drove off, and from now on, a helicopter weighing about 1.8 kg can only rely on itself (including from the point of view of charging).
«Ingenuity» is equipped with a battery with a capacity of 35-40 Wh — until recently it was connected to the nuclear system of the rover, but now it will have to rely only on internal systems. This battery is also used to power the heater, which is vital on cold nights.
«This heater maintains an internal temperature of about 7 ° C in the harsh cold of a Martian night, when temperatures can drop to -90 ° C,» said chief engineer of the Martian helicopter project Bob Balaram the other day. «This helps protect key components like the battery and some sensitive electronic devices from damage at very low temperatures.».
Ingenuity is expected to make its maiden flight on April 11, with data from this test reaching Earth on April 12. The $ 85 million drone is the first helicopter sent off Earth — it is designed to test the technology of future aircraft on Mars and other planets. Ingenuity has two flight documentation cameras. Also, the rover will observe the launch from the side.