NASA tests next-gen Mars helicopter design on Earth and Red Planet

Washington, Nov 26 (IANS) In a historic first, NASA has examined next-generation Mars helicopter design on each Earth and the Pink Planet.On Earth, the US area company examined a brand new rotor that may very well be used with future Mars helicopters at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, spinning at near-supersonic speeds (0.95 Mach).

Alternatively, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter achieved new altitude and airspeed data on the Pink Planet within the identify of experimental flight testing.

“Our next-generation Mars helicopter testing has actually had the very best of each worlds,” stated Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity’s undertaking supervisor and supervisor for the Mars Pattern Restoration Helicopters, in an announcement.

“Right here on Earth, you will have all of the instrumentation and hands-on immediacy you possibly can hope for whereas testing new plane parts. On Mars, you will have the actual off-world situations you possibly can by no means really re-create right here on Earth,” Tzanetos added. That features a whisper-thin ambiance and considerably much less gravity than on Earth.

The subsequent-generation carbon fibre rotor blades being examined on Earth are greater than 10 centimetres longer than Ingenuity’s, with larger energy and a unique design. NASA thinks these blades may allow greater, extra succesful Mars helicopters. The problem is, because the blade ideas strategy supersonic speeds, vibration-causing turbulence can rapidly get out of hand.

For 3 weeks in September, a group monitored sensors, metres, and cameras because the blades endured run after run at ever-higher speeds and larger pitch angles.

“We spun our blades as much as 3,500 rpm, which is 750 revolutions per minute sooner than the Ingenuity blades have gone,” stated Tyler Del Sesto, Pattern Restoration Helicopter deputy check conductor at JPL. “These extra environment friendly blades at the moment are greater than a hypothetical train. They’re able to fly.”

NASA’s Ingenuity mini chopper, initially slated to fly not more than 5 occasions, has now efficiently flown 66 occasions on Mars.

“Over the previous 9 months, we’ve got doubled our max airspeed and altitude, elevated our fee of vertical and horizontal acceleration, and even discovered to land slower,” stated Travis Brown, Ingenuity’s chief engineer at JPL.

Though the helicopter can cowl extra floor in a single flight by flying sooner, flying too quick can confuse the onboard navigation system. So, to attain the next most floor pace, the group sends instructions for Ingenuity to fly at greater altitudes (directions are despatched to the helicopter earlier than every flight), which retains options in view longer.

Additional, the group experimented with Ingenuity’s touchdown pace with lighter touchdown gear.

On Flights 57, 58, and 59 they gave it a whirl, demonstrating Ingenuity may land at speeds 25 per cent slower than the helicopter was initially designed to land at.

In December, after photo voltaic conjunction, Ingenuity is predicted to carry out two high-speed flights throughout which it’ll execute a particular set of pitch-and-roll angles designed to measure its efficiency.

–IANS

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