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Ancient river deltas will reveal if there is life on Mars.  Clicker move and creativity

Ancient river deltas will reveal if there is life on Mars. Clicker move and creativity

In early October, NASA shared i Results of the first scientific investigation And just a few days ago, the Helicopter Creativity Helicopter resumed its operation after a long solar coupling First test run with rotor speed increased to 2700 rpm It gave good results and showed versatility that it could fly without problems even at low atmospheric pressure.

Now preparing to leave the present area to return briefly to the origins before venturing with the persistent rover towards the most important destination, the ancient remains of the Jezero crater river delta located northwest of the present site. Let’s look at the situation in light of the next flight and try to understand how NASA intends to move inside this ancient crater, which was once home to a huge lake fed by a river.

Dexterity will fly for the fifteenth time

The ingenuity is about to begin Journey back to the Wright brothers field,At the landing site of Octavia E. Butler, while on the way along the eastern edge of the area called Sitahsi you will rejoin the perseverance wagon. The map above shows very well the path taken so far and the path to be taken. Thus, after a long campaign led to Successful collection of two samples The next step would be to go northwest towards the ancient river delta of Jezero crater.

To complete the long journey, the Ingenuity team plans a series of trips, 4 to 7, needed to get to Wright Brothers Field again. But it won’t be a flight without news, as NASA is considering preparing an update to the helicopter’s flight program, which will potentially enable new navigation capabilities and better prepare Ingenuity for future challenges. NASA hasn’t gone into details of the update, so we’ll talk about it in due course once we know more.

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And so it all begins with Journey 15 that Ingenuity can now complete. From the south of Sitra, the starting area,The dexterity will move to an area called raised edgesWith a linear extension of 406 meters it would require about 130 seconds of flight at a speed of about 5 meters per second. You want it to rise about 12 meters above ground level and along the way NASA plans to take many unpublished high-resolution images of the area.

Looking at the top image, the blue X in the top left indicates the helicopter’s position on takeoff; The blue dot in the lower right indicates the intended landing site. The green lines indicate the expected lines of sight that will be captured by 10 images. Planned colors during flight. The red “X” in the upper center of the image indicates the current position of NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft. Image background terrain created using data collected by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA.

But this will be a delicate process This will be the second flight with 2,700 rpmBut it is the first in which the helicopter has moved hundreds of metres, providing a real test base for low-intensity flights in the coming months. A drop in atmospheric pressure is a side effect of seasonal variability that is strongly accompanied by the trip to Mars, as it results in a decrease in air density.

But the space agency can’t complain about what’s been achieved so far, and the creativity numbers are impressive when we consider the first flight craft designed on Earth to fly to another planet, Mars in this case. During the first 14 flights, it traveled about 2,883 meters Remaining in flight for 1492 seconds (24 minutes 52 seconds). Looking at the transmitted data, Ingenuity was able to send 83 high-resolution images taken with the 13-megapixel main camera and 1,772 images from the lower navcam camera to Earth. Its flight program has already been updated twice during previous flights, and as mentioned above, it is preparing for a new update.

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Thus, Ingenuity will continue to support the Perseverance Wagon, which will again move in the same direction also in this second phase, enriching ground data with those recorded by reconnaissance aircraft. Experimental technology has proven more promising than expected, and the accumulated experience will allow the development of a more efficient Mars helicopter than ever before.

Perseverance and ingenuity towards the river delta

What do you expect from this second scientific campaign? This time is dangerous and the goal is to head towards the river delta, that distinct fan-shaped area that is clearly visible thanks to satellite imagery and which is why it was selected as the landing area for the expedition. March 2020.

Signs of the confluence of an ancient river that probably filled a lake within Jezero crater are clearly visible and the place can be especially rich in carbonates, minerals which, as Earth geology knows, can preserve fossil signs of ancient life and are linked to ancestral biological processes.

At the same time, Perseverance could continue to test some of the innovative technologies aboard that could one day support human exploration of Mars in the future.Oxygen production by MOXIE generatorNew analyzes of the Martian weather resistance will be conducted for the tissue that will be used for the lives of astronauts in space. In fact, we remind you that a small cloth will be placed on board the rover for spectrum analysis occasionally in order to assess the deterioration and resistance over time.

But all the attention will be focused on the old Delta, already observed at a distance of about two kilometers thanks to the powerful Mastcam-Z mounted on the rover, a unit capable of capturing images at a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels and framing detailed objects as small as a fly even at a distance of 100 metres.

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If there is an opportunity to observe signs of ancient life, this is definitely the placeMoreover, even at the geological level, there are many questions to be solved. We know, for example, thanks to the first data, that it existsRocks of variable dimensions reach diameters of 1.5 meters, and their presence has no apparent justification, and these rocks will be evidence that the watercourse feeding the delta must have passed some stages of special severity, such as causing massive increases in water levels. It was possible to move rocks for tens of kilometers, and it is estimated that to obtain the power to move similar rocks, the water flow had to move at speeds of 6-30 km / h.

Based on distant observations, NASA hypothesises that finer sections of rock close to the bottom of the delta could present the best chance of finding organic matter or any ancestral biological signatures, while more shallow rocks could give us geological details of the ancient crust. .

However, all of these hypotheses are derived from observations made at a distance, and therefore there is a lot of optimism towards this second scientific stage. The coming months look really interesting and our understanding of the Red Planet can change a lot, so keep following us to stay updated on all the developments.