“This charge activity shows we have survived launch and that so far we can handle the harsh environment of interplanetary space,” said MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter project manager.
Advertisement For the eight hours, NASA’s team charged the batteries to 35%. A low charge state is optimal for health during the cruise to Mars, according to the space agency. Going forward, the batteries will now be charged every two weeks for the next seven months.
What happens when the helicopter reaches Mars?Once the Ingenuity Mars helicopter and the Perseverance rover have completed their 505 million kilometer journey through space, NASA’s engineers will wait another two months before separating the two.
AdvertisementWhen the chopper is ready, NASA is hoping to perform a series of flight tests over 30 Martian days. The first test will be a quick 20 to 30-second flight just a few feet off the ground. This will be the first flight on another planet, that too on a planet, where the atmosphere is dramatically different from Earth’s. Mars’ atmosphere is 99% less dense, which means the helicopter’s blades need to spin a lot faster than they would need to on Earth. As the tests progress, the research team will incrementally increase the distance and altitude.
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