(Washington) Small NASA helicopter cleverness, Which arrived in February on the surface of Mars, mounted under the rover DeterminationHe survived his first night alone on the Red Planet, the agency said, stressing that it was a “major step” before his maiden voyage.
This lightweight helicopter, which appears to be a large drone, detached from the rover on Saturday Determination, Which landed on Mars on February 18th.
cleverness It previously relied on probe power, but is now relying on its own solar panels to survive by warming during cold Mars nights when the temperature can drop as low as -90 degrees Celsius.
NASA said in a statement on Monday that surviving the freezing night of Mars was a “milestone” for the small helicopter.
“This is the first timecleverness It was all alone on Mars, ”added MiMi Aung, head of the project cleverness At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA’s lab.
“We have confirmation now that it was the right insulation, the proper heaters, and that it had enough power in its batteries to survive the cold nights, which is a huge success for the team. We are happy to continue preparing.” cleverness On its first test flight. ”
Over the next few days, cleverness He will undergo engine and sensor tests.
If all goes well, the small helicopter should complete its first test flight, which will not take place until the evening of April 11, according to JPL.
If the experiment succeeds, it would be a real achievement, since the density of Mars’ air is only equivalent to 1% of Earth’s atmosphere.
This will be the first flight of a robotic vehicle to another planet. It consists of four feet, a body and two superposed fans, cleverness It weighs only 1.8 kg and measures 1.2 meters from tip to tip of its feathers.
NASA revealed that a small piece of cloth from the Wright Brothers’ plane that took off more than a century ago in North Carolina, USA, was honored on clevernessAnd so it was currently on Mars.