NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, which will launch next month, will also carry a Mars helicopter called Ingenuity. The goal of the Ingenuity helicopter is to demonstrate that controlled flights can take place on the surface of another planet. One of the most challenging parts of the helicopter journey will be the final stage, which will be deployed on the surface of the Red Planet.
NASA’s team of engineers says the last five inches of the helicopter journey is the most challenging part. The last five inches include the distance the helicopter has from the probe to the surface of Mars. The deployment will use the Mars Helicopter Delivery System. Ingenuity features a square body with cameras, batteries and other components about the size of a softball.
Outside the box, the helicopter has an antenna, solar panels, landing brackets and two 4-foot-diameter rotors. The entire Ingenuity package weighs about 4 pounds. After considering each potential stop of the Ingenuity helicopter, the team decided to place it in the “abdominal” of the Perseverance rover. On any flat Martian soil, the rover has a 26-inch ground gap.
The Ingenuity Mars helicopter will be deployed about two months after the rover lands, and The Perseverance is currently scheduled to be deployed on February 18, 2021. During the rover’s early ground operations, controllers will look for a potential helicopter “airport” in size 33 x 33, mostly flat, flat and barrier-free. When the rover is parked around a football field, the area also needs to be seen by the rover.
On or about the 60th day of the mission, Perseverance will drop the graphite composite debris shield of the Mars helicopter delivery system to protect the helicopter on landing before moving into the selected airport center. After about six days, the Mars Helicopter Delivery System will deploy the helicopter. If NASA proves that the Ingenuity helicopter can operate on Mars, future missions could use second-generation helicopters to complete various missions.