NASA Expands Innovative Helicopter Mission to Mars

NASA has expanded its Mars flight operations for an innovation helicopter.

Creativity landed on Mars just over a year ago with NASA’s Perseverance Explorer, or rover.

At first, NASA officials described the creativity as a show Mission. It was designed to see if the small plane could take off, fly a short distance, and then land on the red planet.

The helicopter succeeded quickly in those areas during a series of tests. NASA said the flights are the first time any aircraft have conducted a powered and controlled flight on another planet.

Last May, NASA announced that it was expanding the Ingenuity experimental mission. Since then, creativity has continued to fly on Mars. To date, the helicopter has completed 21 flights. On March 15, the space agency announced that it was extending the Ingenuity mission until September.

NASA’s innovative Mars Helicopter captured this image in the northwest part of the region of Mars known as “Sittah” using its high-resolution color camera during its 20th flight on February 25, 2022. (Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Thomas Zurbuchen is associate director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. He praised the progress of creativity. “Less than a year ago, we didn’t even know if it was possible to fly a powered and controlled aircraft to Mars,” he said. “Now, we look forward to Ingenuity’s participation in Perseverance’s second science expedition.”

NASA says that during that next science expedition, creativity will focus on exploring an ancient river system on Mars’ Jezero Crater. Creativity works with perseverance in an area of ​​Jezero known as Séítah.

NASA says the creativity of the river system will help it explore very different from the regions it has been flying over since its maiden voyage in April. Previous flights were carried out on mostly flat surfaces. The river system, called the delta, rises more than 40 meters above crater floor. contains sharp driftsBig rocks and sandy areas.

These areas can present transportation difficulties for the Perseverance roving. NASA said the helicopter’s main objective will be to help map a safe path for persistence to cross into the delta. In addition, the data provided by the helicopter will help the perseverance team evaluation potential scientific goals.

The river delta region is a good target for scientific experiments because it is believed to contain valuable geological elements. NASA said the area may even contain “the necessary evidence”. He specifies (Whether) microbial life existed on Mars billions of years ago.” Persevere on a mission to search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.

Teddy Zanitos is the creative team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. he is He said The Jezero River Delta campaign will be “the biggest challenge The creativity team has been facing since the first flight into Mars.” In preparation for the helicopter’s upcoming activities, Tzanitos said he has increased the size of the team and Promotion Airplane flight programme.

This annotated image depicts the multiple flights — and two different paths — NASA's innovative Mars Helicopter could make its journey to the Jezero Crater Delta river system.  (Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/USGS)

This annotated image depicts the multiple flights — and two different paths — NASA’s innovative Mars Helicopter could make its journey to the Jezero Crater Delta river system. (Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/USGS)

The upgrades are designed to allow dexterity to fly higher, take longer flights and improve safety in the most challenging conditions.

So far, Ingenuity has flown over 38 minutes and traveled 4.6 kilometers. NASA says 22 helicopterssecond abbreviation The flight is scheduled to occur no later than March 19. It is expected to include “complex” movement that would require the aircraft to take a sharp turn to avoid a large hill in its path.

Ingenuity’s lead pilot is Håvard Grip. He noted that frequent flights quickly fill out a book he uses to record each flight. When the mission began, he said, he thought he’d be lucky to score five flights. “Now, at the rate we’re going, I’m going to need a second book,” Grebe said.

I’m Brian Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this report for VOA Learning English, based on reporting from NASA.

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The words in this story

Mission – n. An important project or trip, especially in relation to space travel

crater – n. A big hole in the ground caused by the force of the body

cliff – n. An area with high, steep rocks

evaluation – Fifth. Make a judgment about the quality, size, value, etc. of something

He specifies – Fifth. To make a formal decision about something because of evidence or facts

challenge – n. difficult task or problem; hard thing to do

Development – Fifth. To improve something by making it newer or of better quality

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