NASA’s Out of this World Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is Triumphant

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter is spearheading future aerial perspective expeditions

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter is spearheading future aerial perspective expeditions

  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s solar-powered Ingenuity Mars Helicopter executed the first powered flight on another planet, after maintaining an altitude of ten feet for 39.1 seconds on the Red Planet. Not only is this a landmark attainment for the agency’s Perseverance mission, it is concrete proof that technology can and will evolve to traverse new worlds. 

  Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk exclaims in a press release, “Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible.” 

  Annabelle Burdette, a Sanderson freshman, elaborates on why she believes monumental events such as this are pertinent. She affirms that, “There are lots of things we don’t know about space. By understanding more about [it], we can benefit as a society.”

  This leap in exploration has proven that there is so much potential for future innovative successes. “We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit,” expounds Jurczyk. 

  This milestone in interplanetary aviation is analogous to the achievements of the Wright Brothers—who pioneered victorious controlled, sustained, powered flights on Earth in 1903. 

  NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen reports the connectivity of the two pillaring events in an announcement about the naming of the Martian airfield on which the craterous lift off took place. He states: “Now, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on our planet, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world.”

  Zurbuchen details, “While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173 million miles of space, they now will forever be linked. As an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration.”

  This first flight was full of unknown possibilities, where the engineers couldn’t know exactly what to expect. One of the largest discrepancies between Earth and Mars is the Red Planet has considerably lower gravity–gauged at about one-third of our globe’s. 

  Gravitational challenges in addition to the thin atmosphere—with only 1% of surface pressure in comparison to our planet—meant Ingenuity required unique components to achieve flight. In fact, many off-the-shelf-commercial items utilized and tested during this deep space mission were from the smartphone industry. 

  Thursday, April 22, 2021, marks the date of the second flight of the Ingenuity Helicopter. More trials of the technology’s abilities were tested, including flying at a higher maximum altitude, for a longer duration period, as well as examining different horizontal movements. 

  The plentitude of in-flight data compiled from each of the robocraft’s flights generates comparative simulations, modeling, and examination tests for use on Earth. 

  The indispensability and crucial nature of these explorative flights will carve the way for subsequent aerial perspective expeditions and Missions to Mars.