Ingenuity

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter First Flight

On 19th Monday 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity flew on Mars becoming the first-ever aircraft to attempt and succeed in a powered, controlled flight on another planet. Ingenuity is a helicopter developed by NASA’s JPL Caltech, as proof of the concept of powered flight on extra-terrestrial worlds, thus it did not carry any science equipment.

Most of this helicopter is built with off-the-shelf parts that are readily available. It consists of a Li-ion battery pack that stores energy produced by the solar panels on board the helicopter. Among several motors, the motor that drives the propellers is a brushed DC motor and there are powers two propellers. The propellers are specially designed for the Martian environment. The propellers have a large wingspan (1.2 m) and a steeper angle of attack (unlike the quad-copters propellers we see here on Earth) considering the low air pressure at the Martian surface. The propellers are made with carbon fiber to reduce weight and increase strength. The two propellers rotate in opposite directions to counter the rotational torque produce by each other.

On 19th at 07:34 (GMT) Ingenuity became airborne, and it stayed in the air for 39.1 seconds, with 30-second stable hovering 3 meters above the Martian surface. Although Ingenuity can be controlled from Perseverance rover, this first flight was an autonomous test flight and all the steps were carried out by the onboard computer.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Meteor9

Lyrid meteor shower

Lyrid meteor shower

The Lyrids is The average meteor shower. Producing its peak rate of meteors around 22nd April with up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. There will be a possibility of seeing Lyrids meteor shower provided that the radiant point of the shower, in the constellation of Lyra.
(This Celestial event is Visible to the Naked Eye.)

Rover (2)

Mars 2020/Perseverance

Mars 2020/Perseverance

Perseverance carried seven instruments to Planet Mars

Mastcam-Z, an advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability with the ability to zoom. The instrument also will determine the mineralogy of the Martian surface and assist with rover operations.

SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy at a distance

Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and high-resolution imager to map the fine-scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will provide capabilities that permit more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before.

Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), a spectrometer that will provide fine-scale imaging and uses an ultraviolet (UV) laser to map mineralogy and organic compounds. SHERLOC will be the first UV Raman spectrometer to fly to the surface of Mars and will provide complementary measurements with other instruments in the payload. SHERLOC includes a high-resolution color camera for microscopic imaging of Mars’ surface.

The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), a technology demonstration that will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. If successful, MOXIE’s technology could be used by future astronauts on Mars to burn rocket fuel for returning to Earth.

Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), a set of sensors that will provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity, and dust size and shape.

The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX), a ground-penetrating radar that will provide centimeter-scale resolution of the geologic structure of the subsurface.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Key Objectives of the Perseverance mission.

Mission Timeline

A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot

Image credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rover Size and Dimensions

Perseverance Rover is about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall (about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall).

Ingenuity

Perseverance carried with it; a 2 kg helicopter named “Ingenuity’ which will become the first aircraft to attempt powered flight on another planet. This solar powered drone will take arial photographs of the Jezero Crater.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Meteor5

Quadrantids Meteor Shower

Quadrantids Meteor Shower

The Quadrantids is The first meteor shower of 2021. Producing its peak rate of meteors around 3rd January with up to 120 meteors per hour at its peak. There will be a possibility of seeing Quadrantids meteor shower provided that the radiant point of the shower, in the constellation of Bootes.
(This Celestial event is Visible to the Naked Eye.)