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Ingenuity, il drone-elicottero conquista Marte

Ingenuity, a drone helicopter invading Mars – Vision

cleverness It is not a drone like any unmanned aircraft. Although the current definition of a vehicle is a “helicopter,” it does not have a true pilot to direct it across the Martian sky. At 9:34 on Monday, April 19 Thanks to meticulous flight planning and remote control of the planet Earth, the first creative flight to the surface of the Red Planet took place, In the United States, in California. The takeoff took place on the Jizero Plain, below a large ancient lake, shortly after Mars appeared for more light.

The first flight took 39 seconds, which is enough to verify that a helicopter the size of Creativity (1.8 kg in weight, 13.6 cm x 19.5 cm x 16.3 cm measurements) is able to do its job in the Martian atmosphere. They ordered it from Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena, a NASA-owned center: bright and cheerful, cheer up once they understood the scope of the project. Immortalized video and photos give some hope for a planet ravaged by Covid: Why It is proof that humans can still do great things by making the most of the capabilities of their mind and hands.

Creativity is the idea of ​​Bob Ballaram, the lead engineer for the project. Project Director Mimi Ong was coordinating operations, confirming the future extent of the system that allows the small helicopter to fly. Several problems have been resolved in Ingenuity, despite it being more than 280 million km from Earth: A flight sequence optimization program has been loaded, and the internal clock that regulates the counter rotation of the carbon fiber blades, essential for flight, has been corrected. A journey was prepared in the best way thanks to another unusual achievement, the bringing of the now-famous rover rover to Mars. The flight was not the same as drinking a glass of water: the atmosphere on the Red Planet is much rarer (pressure equals one-hundredth of Earth’s pressure) and this defines a lower elevation as the surface area of ​​the wings. As a result, the rotating blades are light in weight and have a large volume compared to a drone designed to fly on the ground.

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Roberto BattistonThe head of the Italian Space Agency from May 2014 to November 2018 and a physicist from the University of Trento explained to Repubblica:It is an extraordinary success. The real hurdle was planning the trip so that everything worked without interfering from the ground. Radio signals take so long to get to and from Mars that remote guidance can be imagined. Rovers move very slowly across the ground, a few centimeters per second. And if they discover an obstacle in their path, they can stop waiting for instructions from the ground. This is not the case for a helicopter: in case of difficulty, a gust of wind will suffice, it must be able to make a decision on its own. The test was successful, but the drone is in perfect condition and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do more flight tests in the coming weeks. The study of Mars will change drastically. So far, the rovers have moved slowly and slightly away from the docking point. Having a fleet of helicopters on the Red Planet means being able to explore it in more detail and with a wider range of motion.“.

When I suggested the idea of ​​flying a helicopter to Mars, everyone told me that it was crazy, when I was always a kid, in southern India, I heard astronauts land on the moon on the radio. After my uncle saw my enthusiasm, he wrote to the US Consulate who sent us an envelope full of pictures that I had eaten. My idea was born in the 1990s at a conference at Stanford University. Charles El Ashi, head of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gave me eight weeks to present a detailed plan. With my team we worked day and night on delivery two weeks ago. We had to invent a new technology and prove it worked. It was like preparing for the first flight of the Wright Brothers. It could have failed, but I’m used to the difficulties. For the past six years there has been a crisis every week and we have overcome it. This experience will be invaluable in designing future heavy helicopters capable of exploring canyons and tunnels far from the landing point and reaching places dangerous for humans. The spirit of innovation is to push the limits of mobile vehicles by adding air mobility. Not just on Mars but on celestial bodies like Venus or Titan, the next destinations for NASA. Good ideas never die, it takes time to realizeSaid Plaram, as reported by Corriere della Sera.

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