NASA’s forthcoming Perseverance rover is going to do what no space agency has done before. It is going to land a helicopter on the Mars. If successful, it is going to search for the signs of life on Mars.
NASA has plans to launch it from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in late July. The rover is designed to pierce through rocks in Maritian lake bed and study them for biosignatures. It is also going to extract oxygen from the atmosphere and collect soil samples.
If all works as per plans, the drone called Ingenuity will be the first powered flight on another planet
NASA’s Ingenuity will have to travel about 314 million miles (505 million kilometers) with the Perseverance rover to get to Mars. But the team behind this project is worried about engineering the final 5 inches (13 centimeters) of the journey.
Final 5 inches of its journey to the surface of the Red Planet will determine its fate.
Ingenuity is of the size of football and is carrying computers, cameras, solar panel and batteries. Deploying it is a big challenge.
Conditions on Mars are very different from that on Earth. Temperature there can drop to -100 degrees Celsius. Moreover air at Mars is 1/100th as dense and the gravity is two-thirds less intense.
Chris Salvo, the helicopter interface lead of the Mars 2020 mission, said, “The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is a large, fragile, unique assemblage of hardware that is dissimilar to anything NASA has ever accommodated on a planetary mission.”