Scientists have made various attempts to observe Mars. On July 20, 2020, the latest instrument was sent to Mars to monitor Mars. Scientists hope to use it to observe Mars using a method never previously used. They have moved beyond the old technology to experiment with new technologies. 


Orbiters were first used to observe Mars. It orbited Mars and carried out observations from orbit. Beyond that, they used mars landers to land on Mars and conduct research. Since they cannot move from place to place, they can only be observed at the place of landing. Scientists have found that it takes a long time to observe the orbits of Mars, as mars landers can only perform a very limited range of experiments. 


To overcome that problem, scientists were able to create a rover that could move from place to place. Several spacecraft such as opportunity and curiosity are currently participating in the Mars mission. However, when a rover travels on Mars, it causes several problems. If the wheel of this rover gets stuck on a rock or a hill, scientists will inevitably have to stop the mission. The rover travels a very short distance of about ten kilometers a year because it has to travel very carefully this way. 


Scientists used a Mars helicopter to avoid this problem, Since there is an atmosphere on Mars, a helicopter must be able to fly. It can also travel in Mars’ atmosphere faster and safer than the rover. It is much more efficient than the rover. On July 30, 2020, such a helicopter was launched with the perseverance spacecraft sent to Mars using the atlas v541 rocket. It is called an ingenuity helicopter. The Ingenuity Helicopter is the first spacecraft to enter the atmosphere on another planet. The aircraft here has two wings. They are about 1.2 meters in diameter. The two wings are mounted one on top of the other and are powered by an electric motor. Its wings have been shown solely to give a sense of proportion. Therefore, they can eliminate the rotational motion caused by that motion. Based on that, the total efficiency of the helicopter can be increased by about 10%. 


A solar panel is mounted above the wings to power the aircraft’s communications center. There are 4 limbs for landing here. They are made using carbon fiber and are very important for an easy and safe landing. This helicopter has a six-piece lithium-ion battery. When the battery is fully charged, the helicopter can fly for about 90 seconds. This one-and-a-half minute or 90-second period is enough to gather enough data and take photos. 

Mars Helicopter testing. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech 

Mars has a very thin atmosphere, so flying is not as easy as on Earth. In this case, the layers of the Ingenuity helicopter rotate very fast and travel through the thin atmosphere of Mars. That speed is 2800rpm, which means that the wings have been shown solely to give a sense of proportion. The Ingenuity aircraft weighs about 1.8kg. Therefore, it can be accepted that it is a lighter aircraft. There is a very good communication system between this helicopter and NASA on Earth. 


But radio signals must be used to communicate to a helicopter. It can take anywhere from twenty-four minutes to send a radio signal from Earth to Mars. Therefore, this helicopter is fully automatic. Scientists created an atmospheric pressure similar to that of Mars in a vacuum chamber at NASA and tested the helicopter there. There, a cable was attached to the helicopter to give it a gravitational pull similar to that of Mars. It was able to give the spacecraft a gravitational force similar to that of Mars. This is called a gravity offload system. The scientists worked hard to make all the experiments done in this way successful and they were able to make them all successful. 


The perseverance rover and ingenuity helicopter are set to land on Mars’ Jesero orbit on February 18, 2021. This helicopter is mounted on the sterile part of the perseverance rover. The helicopter was activated during a flight to Mars. The Mars helicopter was activated into space on August 7, 2020, in response to remote signals from Earth. Its six lithium-ion batteries are powered by the main power supply of the perseverance aircraft.” Launched on July 30, 2020, the helicopter will be activated into space and monitored to ensure that its systems are working properly” said Mr. Tim Canham, who is in charge of the Mars helicopter mission. In space, it takes about 8 hours to charge its batteries. But those batteries are only 30% of the full charge level. After the rocket lands on Mars, the helicopter that hangs from the perseverance spacecraft then leaves, automatically powered by solar panels and activated. 


The aircraft proceeds ahead of the perseverance rover and performs a quality inspection of its trajectory. The main function of this helicopter is to compare the data and provide information to the rover and explain the trajectory of the rover. Here, if the helicopter flight is successful, it proves that the flight on Mars can be successful. It will be a new beginning in the field of transportation in the settlement of Mars. We hope the first helicopter flight to Mars is a success.

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