NASA has confirmed the successful touchdown of the first ever Mars helicopter.
The miniature space helicopter is called Ingenuity and it was carried to Mars onboard the Perseverance rover.
Nasa tweeted a picture of the helicopter finally on the surface of Mars.
The US space agency tweeted yesterday: “#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today.
“Next milestone? Survive the night.”
So far, it seems the helicopter has done well at surviving on its own.
Nasa tweeted this image[/caption]
The helicopter has finally touched Martian soil[/caption]
Ingenuity won’t attempt to fly until April 11 and it will take 24 hours for the data of it flight to be sent back to Earth.
It arrived on the Red Planet with Perseverance on February 18 but remained attached to the Nasa rover until now.
The four-pound helicopter dropped four inches onto the surface of Mars from the belly of Perseverance.
It will now gain power from its solar panels and work to heat itself to survive the freezing cold nights on the planet.
This is an artist illustration of what the helicopter will look like on Mars’s surfaces[/caption]
Mars can sometimes be as cold as -55°C (-130°F).
The helicopter will be used for imaging environmental monitoring and will support the data that Perseverance is already taking.
Flying the small helicopter will make history as a device like this has never been used on Mars before.
Perseverance – What's on board?
Perseverance boasts a total of 19 cameras and two microphones, and carries seven scientific instruments.
- Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)
An X-ray “ray gun” that will help scientists investigate the composition of Martian rock.
2. Radar Imager for Mars’ subsurface experiment (RIMFAX)
A ground-penetrating radar that will image buried rocks, meteorites, and even possible underground water sources up to a depth of 10 metres (33ft).
3. Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA)
A bunch of sensors that will take readings of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, and other atmospheric conditions.
4. Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)
An experiment that will convert Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen. A scaled-up version could be used in future to provide Martian colonists with breathable air.
A suite of instruments for measuring the makeup of rocks and regolith at a distance
A camera system capable of taking “3D” images by combining two or more photos into one.
7. Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC)
From Baker Street to Mars: Sherloc contains an ultraviolet laser that will investigate Martian rock for organic compounds.
Most read in Science
In other space news, wannabe astronauts from Britain have got eight weeks to apply to go on missions with the European Space Agency.
The DNA of 6.7 million species could be stored inside the Moon in case there’s a disaster that destroys life on Earth.
And, Nasa has released historic first audio recordings captured on the surface of Mars.
What do you make of the Mars helicopter? Let us know in the comments…
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