NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity makes first historic flight to another planet

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity makes first historic flight to another planet

Easily, a NASA helicopter no heavier than a two-liter soda bottle, has achieved the first power-powered, controlled flight on another planet. The feat occurred at 12:31 a.m. PT on Monday, but it wasn't until three hours later that NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory obtained the first data from Mars.

Ease's first flight is an impressive milestone in space exploration, paving the way for future missions to use the sky to the Red Planet. Learning to fly on Earth was difficult, but flying on Mars was a major engineering challenge. NASA has shown that it depends on the work.

Ease was not controlled by engineers on the ground during this effort. Instead, commands were uploaded to the spacecraft, which took it in seconds on a pre-flight check flight. The rotor blades extend to 2,537 rpm, which is six times faster than ground-based crafts. Six seconds after the start, the clever blades hit the red planet in a refreshing atmosphere, creating an elevator.

The flight attempt was delayed from its original target date of April 11 to give NASA time to update the machine's software after the spin test of the routers ended too soon. A problem with the "watchdog" timer prevented the helicopter from spinning properly, but the Ease Engineering team corrected the problem. The solution, he said, allows the helicopter to "transition into flight mode and prepare for lift-off approximately 85% of the time."

It's been almost 120 years since Hourwell and Wilbur Wright found their test aircraft off the ground near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. We'll have to wait a little longer for the Mars Katie Hawk moment.

A post-flight press briefing, scheduled for 11 a.m. PT, will likely see the first photos and videos below. Specifically, Durability, NASA's next-generation Mars rover and backyard for convenience, was located just 200 feet away at a location known as Van Zyl Overlock. The rover possibly captured the historic flight with its new cam and mastic z imagers.

Easily, will also capture your own images, along with black and white images, used to navigate and color images were added to JPL's mission control on Monday. We have these images on CNET as soon as they come back to earth.

With a successful flight under his belt, NASA's Ease Team is not complete. Extending the limits of small helicopters, efforts will be made for a series of increasingly difficult flights in the coming weeks. It may not be as far-fetched as the Wright Brothers, but ease has paved the way for amazing success elsewhere in the universe.

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