NASA recently released a video showing a pair of Mars helicopter rotor blades being tested at the agency Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). The test was conducted on September 15, just one day before NASA’s test cleverness The helicopter made a record flight on the Red Planet.
With the great success achieved by Ingenuity, NASA It plans to incorporate helicopter-like drones in the future Mars missions also, built with more powerful designs than its predecessor, has completed 66 flights, and counting. The new twin-rotor system recently tested at JPL features two carbon fiber blades more than 50 inches (1.3 meters) in diameter. That’s about 4 inches (10 centimeters) longer than the Ingenuity.
The rotors were tested inside JPL’s 25-foot Space Simulator, a vacuum chamber used by NASA engineers to expose spacecraft systems to conditions similar to those they would encounter during a mission. The stainless steel chamber is 85 feet (26 meters) tall and can simulate the conditions of extreme temperatures and solar radiation found in the vacuum of interplanetary space.
Related: NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter flies on consecutive days to prepare for ‘solar conjunction’ (Video)
Over the course of three weeks, the dual rotors were rotated at significantly faster speeds to test their durability. NASA video from inside the space simulation chamber shows a test conducted on September 15, in which the blades were rotated at Mach 0.95, nearly the speed of sound.
Coincidentally, Ingenuity completed a record-breaking flight the next day. On September 16, the Mars helicopter made its 59th flight across the surface of Mars, reaching an altitude of 66 feet (20 m) – at the time, its highest flight to date.
However, that record was broken during a flight on October 5, in which Ingenuity flew to an altitude of 79 feet (24 metres).
Dexterity went down Mars With NASA Rover Perseverance in February 2021, and was originally only supposed to fly five times in a proof-of-concept demonstration of this type of aviation technology. Now, on an extended mission, the helicopter has spent nearly two cumulative hours in the Martian air, flying across a total of 9 miles.
The September 16 flight remains an important milestone, notable for occurring alongside ground testing of spacecraft components that followed it just the day before.
Ingenuity is a test vehicle in its own right, which has far exceeded its initial life expectancy — NASA’s ability to perform near-synchronous interplanetary flight tests of hardware in both simulated and off-world environments speaks volumes about humanity’s progress in space Exploration as a whole.
It also undoubtedly highlights the space agency’s determination to continue innovating to the final frontier.