A NASA helicopter took a piece of the Wright brothers’ plane to Mars

An iconic helicopter exposed beneath the belly of the rover persevering on the surface of Mars.

NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory- California Institute of Technology

NASA keeps track of its innovations Mars Creativity Helicopter Return to the first voyage of Orville and Wilbur Wright in Kitty Hawk in 1903 A piece of cloth from Wright’s iconic plane is now on the Red Planet, Tucked underneath a solar panel from Ingenuity.

In a briefing for NASA on TuesdayChief Creativity Engineer Bob Palram unveiled a surprise package that he described as being the size of a postage stamp. Unbleached gauze material, which comes from the wing cover, links the first powered and controlled flight on Earth and what NASA hopes will be the first powered flight on another planet.

The dexterity can take off as soon as possible on April 8, but must first be delivered to the Mars airport site by the rover. It would also undergo a wide series of checks before attempting to take off and fly about 10 feet (3 meters) above the planet’s surface.

The Roving Probe is located 2 days from the helicopter landing point, and is a relatively flat and clear area of ​​Jezero Crater. Once The ingenuity unfolded When it lands on the ground, the rover will carefully move away to ensure that the helicopter’s solar panel can function to power its batteries and keep it warm during the cold night.

The helicopter mission is scheduled to take 31 Earth days, but the first night may be the most important. “While propagation on the surface would be a huge challenge, surviving that first night on Mars alone, without the rover protecting and preserving it, would be a bigger thing.” Plaram said.

This annotated image of Mars shows Ingenuity Airport and the flight area at the Jezero Crater.

NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory- California Institute of Technology / University of Arizona

Rover will set up shop on site to overlook for trying to capture photos and video of Ingenuity’s first short voyage.

If the initial hover went well, NASA would experiment with longer and higher flights. The entire flight zone covers an area of ​​about 300 feet (90 meters), giving Ingenuity plenty of room to extend its blades if needed.

The 4-pound (1.8 kg) helicopter is a technical demonstration, an experiment that can show whether this kind of flight is possible even under the challenging conditions of Mars. The planet’s thin atmosphere and gusty winds make it a difficult place to turn creativity. If it succeeds, it may open the doors to new forms of exploration in other worlds.

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