We are ready to start flying the first-ever helicopter on Mars by next year.
Perseverance rover will carry this helicopter, Ingenuity. Ingenuity weighs 4-lb and will ride to Mars on Perseverance belly. This chopper is just 5 inches shorter than the clearance area of the rover. The helicopter interface lead of Mars 2020, Chris Salvo says, “That is not a lot of room to play with.”
He further adds, “But we found if you attach the helicopter horizontally, there is enough to get the job done.”
The Perseverance rover and Ingenuity will search for a flat surface to continue their operations and testing. After two months of the landing of the rover in Mars, the Ingenuity will detach from the rover.
The entire system will be operated from the Earth itself. The required area to operate and monitor while parked is 33*33 square feet. Perseverance will drive to the centre of this area and the mission team will operate the helicopter after six days, i.e. after doing all the checks.
“The deployment process begins with the release of a locking mechanism that keeps the helicopter in place,” JPL officials wrote in the statement. “Then a cable-cutting pyrotechnic device fires, allowing a spring-loaded arm that holds the helicopter to begin rotating Ingenuity out of its horizontal position. Along the way, a small electric motor will pull the arm until it latches, bringing the helicopter body completely vertical with two of its spring-loaded landing legs deployed. Another pyrotechnic fire, releasing the other legs.”
Ingenuity will operate for 30 Martian days or sols as per its design. This mission is to check the feasibility of our future missions to Mars. This chopper doesn’t carry any onboard equipment. It will provide the information which will be used for future assistance of the rovers and even astronauts.
Also, this helicopter will study the vertical cliffs, caves and deep craters. The primary goal of this mission involves the discovery of ancient life on Mars. The launch is scheduled after July 30 of this year.