[Global Times Special Correspondent Zhang Yifan] The Press Service of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that the first test flight of the "Witty" helicopter on Mars will not be earlier than April 11.
The highly anticipated unmanned helicopter "Wisdom" has been successfully released from the abdomen of the "Perseverance" rover to the surface of Mars to begin preparations for its first flight.
Foreign media all believe that the first flight of the "Witty" helicopter is as meaningful as the Wright brothers' first test flight of a man-made aircraft on Earth, which will bring new "weapon" to mankind's way of exploring the universe.
However, this flight that will create human history is very difficult.
Because aerodynamic flight on Mars is far more difficult than on Earth.
The gravity of this red planet is only 1/3 of that of the earth, and the density of the atmosphere is only 1% of the earth's surface.
Even worse, the solar energy received by the surface of Mars during the day is only about half of that of the earth, and the temperature at night can drop to minus 90 degrees Celsius, which is a low temperature that ordinary electrical components cannot withstand.
In order to build a helicopter that can fly on Mars, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory spent 7 years designing, manufacturing and testing.
In order to realize the flight to Mars, the research and design team specially built a wind tunnel to simulate the atmospheric conditions and gravity of Mars, and carried out simulation experiments.
It is reported that "Gizwits" has carried out many flight experiments in a simulated environment on Earth. Whether it can take off in a real Martian environment or not, we have to wait for the final first flight.
Judging from the photos sent back from Mars, the "Wit" released from the belly of "Perseverance" to the surface of Mars is like a baby who has just left the blessing of its mother.
After leaving the "Perseverance", the "wit" can only rely on its own solar panels to charge.
The ground control team of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will wait for news from the "Wit" to see whether it can survive the Martian night independently, whether the solar panels can work normally, and check whether its temperature and charging performance meet expectations.
If everything is okay, the next thing to do is to unlock the rotor, test all motors and sensors, and then conduct the expected Martian flight test.
Before its maiden flight, "Perseverance" will receive the final flight instructions from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission controller and pass it on to "Wit".
There are also many factors that will determine the precise time of the first flight, including the wind and wind speed near the departure airport.
After the spiral wing speed of the "wit" reaches 2537 rpm, if all the self-checks look good, the "wit" will take off.
"Wiz" will climb at a speed of 1 meter per second and hover 3 meters above the ground for 30 seconds.
Then, "Wit" will descend and land on the surface of Mars, completing its first flight.
During the flight of "Wisdom", "Perseverance" will record the entire flight as a "bystander".
After the maiden flight, "Perseverance" will transmit the flight images taken with its own camera and the first set of engineering data recorded by "Wisdom" to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where it will determine whether the maiden flight was successful.
In the next two days, all the remaining engineering data collected during the flight of the "Witty", the low-resolution black and white images taken by the helicopter's built-in camera, and the two images taken by the high-resolution color camera will also be sent back one after another.
Controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will use this information to determine when and how to conduct the next flight test.
It is reported that the "wit" will complete a total of 5 flight tests within 31 days, after which the historical mission will end.
The "Perseverance" Mars rover will also "abandon" the "Witness" and carry out exploration activities on its own, looking for evidence of the possible existence of microbes on Mars and collecting samples.
If the "Wiz" is successful, it will bring about a major transformative impact.
Bobby Braun, director of the Planetary Science Department of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, believes that if humans can conduct scientific investigations on Mars with a thin atmosphere by flying in the air, of course they can be on many other planets in the solar system, such as Titan or Venus. On the inspection, powered flight is real and powerful in the future of space exploration.