If a common man on Earth had been told 100 years ago that it was possible to fly a controlled helicopter from Mars to Earth, he would have laughed at it, or doubted the mental health of those who said it. But within 100 years, the US space agency NASA’s small unmanned helicopter Ingenuity flew over Mars. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity flew 3 meters (or 9.6 feet) above the surface of Mars and was able to stay afloat for 39.1 seconds. This is a small step for Ingenuity, but a huge step forward for mankind.
Ingenuity was able to fly just 3 meters above the surface of Mars and stay afloat for only 39.1 seconds. This does not seem to be an achievement at first glance. The gravitational force of Mars is about one-third of the Earth’s gravitational force, but the density of Mars’ atmosphere is only 1 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, it is much more difficult for an airplane to fly to Mars than to Earth.
The equivalent of being able to fly from the ground of a spacecraft to Mars is equivalent to reaching an altitude of 30,000 meters (or 100,000 feet) above the surface of any spacecraft on Earth. So far no helicopter has been able to rise 30,000 meters above the earth’s surface. But Ingenuity has been able to fly off the surface of Mars. This is why it is not an ordinary achievement, but a unique achievement in the history of space technology.
Ingenuity’s flight to Mars is practically a ‘technology demonstration’. That is, it is not a complete technology, but an experimental version or prototype of future technology. Based on this prototype, spacecraft capable of flying higher and longer on Mars will be built later
History of the construction of Mars missions and Ingenuity
In the 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union began expeditions to alienation. In 1965, the Soviet spacecraft Vega-1 was able to fly a balloon over Venus and it was the first unpowered flight to an alien planet. Later, however, the Soviet Union somehow dropped out of the project, but the United States continued to campaign on Mars. The latest of these is ‘Mars 2020’ and the Ingenuity helicopter is part of this operation.